Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dead Bird and a Tent

Yesterday at church, during the fellowship time (known by me as "Time When the Church Gives My Kids Breakfast"), most of the children were playing outside because it was so beautiful out. I was standing and yik-yakking with a friend when her 12-year-old son came up to us (note: he was Lucy's First Love. This lasted for a few weeks. Now she has callously transferred her affections to his 9-year-old brother because, and I quote, "He's so funny!" Men: take heed.). He said, "I just wanted you to know, Lucy touched a dead bird outside." Immediately all the children were swarming around and exclaiming over Lucy touching a dead bird, and all the adults were not containing their disgust. She and I went in the bathroom and scrubbed her hands. I explained to her that we shouldn't touch any sort of animal or bird outside, unless it was someone's pet (and alive) and they said we could touch it. Otherwise, outside we should just touch leaves and grass and sticks and stuff. I think she was embarrassed by the whole thing because after she finished washing her hands, she buried her face in my skirt and tried not to cry.

After the service, she took me by the hand and led me outside. "I want to show you this dead bird, Mama, please, come with me," she said. OK, seeing a dead bird is not high on my list of things I ever want to do, but it was important to her. We walked over near some trees, and there it was. It wasn't sweetly dead or anything either; I think a cat or something had gotten to it. Lucy told me, "I just loved that dead bird. It was so beautiful. When I picked it up [aggggghhh! She picked it UP?!] it made me think of that book Manga and I read together, you know, 'The Dead Bird.' [by Margaret Wise Brown who also wrote, "Runaway Bunny" and "Goodnight Moon." "The Dead Bird" has also struck me as morbid, but my mom and Lucy have bonded over it; they love it, so who am I to tell them no?] I just felt so sad inside thinking of that beautiful dead bird. Its wings were so soft and pretty. It was just lovely."

I know the whole thing is yucky and a little weird, but at that moment I felt closer to that little girl than probably I ever have. I know exactly what that feels like--when the lines between literature and life become blurred, and what you read in a book is more real to you than anything else. Like Virginia Woolf says (something like this) "when the colors blur, and the daffodils are dancing with the taxicabs..." This is a little profound for a Monday morning, but I hope that the noise and chatter of everyone around her never intrudes on her consciousness so much that they drown out the whisper of a book in her soul. In other words, we read to know we're not alone, people, know what I'm sayin'?

In the afternoon, Darren set up his Father's Day present, and there was much rejoicing:



The little girls wanted to eat dinner inside, so I said sure, until a massive wind blew up and thunder rolled, so Elaine cried and wanted to go inside.



But they're looking forward to sleeping in the tent sometimes this summer, and Darren has even extracted a promise from me that I'll do it too.

After I got them both tucked into bed, Darren and I settled down to watch Masterpiece Mystery (hey, did anyone else watch?!) When I was little, I used to fall asleep on Sunday nights listening to Moret's "Rondeau," which was the theme music to Masterpiece Theatre. It's another surreal parenting moment to realize that now I'm the one downstairs watching while I have two little people upstairs who are supposed to be sleeping.

Emphasis on the "supposed to be." We were in the midst of watching Lewis when a little barefoot person in a pink fleece robe appeared. "Lucy sleepin' in her bed," she announced. "I get up." She sidled over to me and peered over the arm of the wingchair at the brownie I was eating. She looked at Lewis. "I watch with you!" she said. Now, aside from having a daughter love a book so much that she picked up a chewed up old dead bird, few things would thrill me more than having at least one of my girls be my Mystery-watching buddy. But...common sense prevailed, and Darren carted her back to bed (crying all the way).

I was sad though. As Lucy says, "Mystery loves company!"

6 comments:

Jill said...

Wow...you had quite the Sunday :) We haven't had the "don't touch dead animals" talk yet, but I'm sure it's coming !! Yikes! Hey, I wanted to answer your question about the "boo boo piggy". I think we got it at Target. (maybe at Meijer, too..but I don't think you have Meijer in Illinois.) We've had it for several years, but I know they still make them. They come in dogs, pigs, and I think ducks, too. I'll keep my eyes open to see if I can find them again :)

Alice said...

Thanks! I'll look at Target. We do have Meijer in IL, just not where I live...but if, in my travels, I drive by one I'll go check it out! We have kid ice packs, but none are cloth--that's what is appealing to me...

Ann-Marie said...

Awww...dead animals make me cry!

As a kid, I stayed far, far away! Poor Lucy - our brave heroine! I think it's amazing she made such a connection with a bird. And what a way to impress those fuddy-duddy kids! She's guaranteed her coolness now, I'll tell you!

I hear you on realizing we're our parents...I woke up hearing "Majesty" on WMBI Sunday mornings. Now, I'm tuned to it myself!

NICE tent! Are you really going to sleep in it?

Alice said...

I have to say, it IS pretty cool. It has 3 rooms, and the ceiling is 6 feet high. I can see sleeping in it, possibly. In my backyard with shower and bathroom in close proximity. Maybe once at least!

Melanie said...

That tent is awesome! Scott would flip (now I know what to do next year for him!). You should sleep in it but with an air mattress - I can never sleep on the bare ground. The last time I went camping it poured and there was my air mattress floating while my tentmates were wringing out their sleeping bags. Now, I'll never camp without one - even in my backyard but I'm a wimp. I love how brave Lucy was and how sensitive too. I also love how silly Elaine was all ready to snuggle in for the big show on tv. Cole came down during it too, last night. Wonder what gives?

Juliet said...

Go camping while the kids are young. I'm sure they will like it. By the time Ann-Marie came along our camping days were over...which I know she was very thankful for.

Great Tent!