The kids are dying to look, but I keep telling them they can't because...
When I was a kid, we had one of those old fashioned metal swing sets. The kind with a long metal tube welded to A-shaped supports on either end. We used to climb up and play telephone, whispering and yelling messages to each other through the tube.
One spring day, when I was in 3rd grade, my brother and I decided to play telephone. But his end of the tube was clogged up with stuff, so I told him to just pull it out. yup--bird's nest. In the pile of grass and twigs and fluff were two tiny bald baby birds. My mom said there's no use in trying to put everything back in the tube, because the mother bird won't care for the babies anymore because they have the smell of humans on them.
I'd seen enough Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and Wonderful World of Disney nature films in my day to have the notion that I could nurse those baby birds to adulthood. I imagined the birds would imprint on me and fly around my head and follow me and perch on my shoulder. Those birds were gonna love me, because I was gonna save them. I found an old shoebox. I asked my mom if she had a dropper for sugar water, but she didn't answer. Like I've said, she wasn't very good at protecting us from the hurts of day to day life. I think I recall some minimal effort to dissuade my endeavor. Michelle it's going to be hard to keep those birds alive.
folding laundry back turned no eye contact
I used my finger to try and drop the sugar water onto their beaks. I worried that they wouldn't make it through the night. In the morning, one was dead. I remember feeling sick to my stomach at the thought of leaving for the day. I knew I couldn't ask to stay home from school. And I knew I couldn't ask my mom to take care of the bird while I was gone.
I wonder if she was aware of my mood, my state, my quietness. I wonder if she saw my slumped shoulders, or my untouched breakfast, or my sadness.
I wonder if she was saw me.
I thought about that baby bird all day. I got home, and it was dead. I remember noticing that the box was exactly where I had left it. I remember realizing that she hadn't even come to check, she hadn't tried, she didn't care.
I was 8. And aware that she just didn't care.
I stayed in my room all afternoon. Alone. Such profound sadness. Too heartbroken to cry. Too full of regret. Too full of feelings of inadequacy. Feeling so sick inside over that baby bird that I just wanted to die.
I was 8. And I wanted to die.
I remember we had Chinese food from Tung Sing that night. Tung Sing was my favorite, and such a treat. Not coming to the dinner table was unheard of in our house. I couldn't bring myself to eat. I couldn't get off my bed. She didn't come to check on me. Not once.
I was 8. Ty is 8. I look at him, and he's still a baby. When he sleeps, I see the same frown on his face that I saw the very first time I held him asleep in my arms.
I still see the face of my newborn.
He's 8. He's a baby.
I was a baby.
I was HEARTBROKEN.
How could she not see that?
How could she not see?
it's a little heavy today--this blog is like regression therapy sometimes