I know I must be starting to sound crazy, always talking about interactions with the birds. Honestly, I feel kind of crazy because I swear the birds around here are ancestors trying to contact me from another realm. Maybe I should convert to Hinduism. Maybe I should just stay eccentric. Either way you are going to hear about it.
I hope you remember this story about the pregnant robin staring at me through my back door because this story just kind of builds on it.
Mothering has been getting to me. I feel worthless a majority of the time. Between the monotony of the baby and the daily drudgery of dealing with hormonal and self-absorbed typical teenagers I often wonder why I have dedicated the majority of my life to them.
I’ve been praying a lot and searching for wisdom and peace. I want to know that my sacrifices will matter. I need to know.
Well, a few days ago after a particularly hard weekend I had another little bird miracle. My very rare weekend get-away had been snatched from my needy little fingers. (The therapist thought it would be a good idea for my husband and daughter to have some bonding time, which left me at home alone with the other 4 kids for two days.) I was looking ahead to the grind of another week, and wasn’t feeling too rested after the weekend. I was indulging myself in another, “WHY?” crying session.
I ended up with the baby in arms while attempting to let the dog out the sliding glass door to relieve herself. Just before opening the door, however, I noticed something new. I’d never witnessed this before: There were so many robins in the branches of the trees that I couldn’t count them. I froze. They all stared at me as I stared at them. They were all sexes, all sizes, and all singing to one another.
It came in the most unexpected way, but my answer to prayer had come on the wings of the robin family. The secret to life was laid out before me. Maybe these birds were ancestors from my past (not really but symbolically.) Maybe they represented my family in the future, but they were definitely a sign with a crystal clear message supporting my motherhood: It’s all about the family.
The other day a single friend from high-school posted a picture from his back porch. It was him, his beautifully landscaped yard, and his beer. I assumed he’s on a hiatus from traveling at his high profile life of being a TV producer and was enjoying the downtime.
I commented, “Your life looks so peaceful, can we trade for a week?”
He answered in jest, ” Alice, thanks for the offer but I highly doubt I could ‘Survive’ your life. You are an amazing mom/wife.”
It’s amazing what a compliment like that can do for a struggling mom. I so appreciated every single word. He validated my extreme exhaustion and simultaneously encouraged me. I didn’t think there was anything that could help me more than his words. I also didn’t realize that I could communicate with birds. They gave me a moment’s peace. Without the beer. Without the perfectly landscaped backyard. And without any peace and quiet. There’s hardly ever peace and quiet in a family of 7.
I let the dog out. Between the noise of the sliding door and the happy barks of the dog, the robins quickly dispersed. I smirked and speechlessly thanked them all as they flew away. I then admitted to myself that I didn’t need to feel worthless anymore. I have the highest profile job ever: mother.
And the birds understood and communicated what I needed to hear. I matter. I matter now. I matter even more in the future. The kids aren’t the ones making me feel worthless. I am doing that to myself. The future of mankind is depending on me. My hundreds of progeny know what I am still learning: I matter. I guess they know that they got the message across because they haven’t been back.
Maybe they upgraded to the form of cat? I hope not because if the next time I get down on myself (which can be any moment now) and there are 50+ cats staring at me through my back door, I think it’ll freak me out just a tad.