Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lessons from a girl and a bird

Yesterday we found a baby bird on the ground in our back yard.  We figured it had fallen out of a nest in our apple tree.  However the apple tree is old and has had many nests in it over the years.  We couldn't tell where it had come from.  Were those damaged nests from previous years or victims of the recent storms? We could hear the parents scolding us for being near their baby, but still couldn't find the nest. 

I decided to gently move it into my garlic/onion patch that is right near the tree, but fenced to protect it from our dogs and neighbor cats.  The mama came by and seemed to have found her baby.  We hoped that would be enough to keep the baby alive.

Unfortunately our best wasn't enough. At one point I checked on the bird and it was breathing heavily.  The next time I checked, about a half hour later, it was still.  Then we saw it.  The reason this baby bird had been on the ground.  A stronger sibling appeared to have kicked it out of the nest.

In a way, this was healing. Seeing the differences in the strength between the two birds helped us realize that nature has a way to protect the species.  Explaining to my six year old that the stronger bird pushed out the weaker bird so it could get even stronger was helpful to both of us. 

After dinner we buried the deceased bird on the side of the house in front of the fence to avoid our dogs finding it.  We then sprinkled flower seeds on top of the area as a tribute to the feathered one.   My youngest drew a picture of the stronger bird up in the tree and the weaker one on the ground.  I think it was therapeutic to her and helped her understand how nature works in some species.

So what lessons can be learned from this little bird and my little girl?  As much as my child cared and wanted that little bird to live, she also understood that things don't always go the way we'd like.  She let herself have a little time to be sad, but then she moved on.

When I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, I didn't allow myself to be sad.  I just moved on.  Now and then I find myself sad (or angry) about my diagnosis, but instead of allowing myself to be sad I often scold myself for being upset. I have it so much better than so many.  There are several people I know that are worse off than I.  Why am I down about a little thing called diabetes? 

Thankfully I have a child to inspire me.  Let the sadness come, but then realize that diabetes is what it is.  I can watch some You Can Do This videos, including my own.  That video was made not just for the project, but also to look back on myself - to give myself a pep talk, too.

I am looking forward to watching the flowers grow in that little bird's burial spot, remembering my child who found joy in moving on with life.

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