Most people associate Easter with springtime, bunnies (live or chocolate; I prefer the latter), baby chicks, egg hunts, new life … you get the picture.
When the boys were younger, we would let them eat candy from their Easter baskets for breakfast, dress them in cute (sometimes matching) outfits, take the obligatory family photo on the front porch and head off to church. A very traditional and idyllic family Easter Sunday – except maybe the part about letting the kids eat candy for breakfast. But then, I’ve done worse as a parent.
That’s how the boys would say they remember most Easters – until that one time.
Our church was planning a big to-do on Easter Sunday, complete with a buffet-style continental breakfast. I volunteered to play breakfast hostess and keep the bagel and donut trays restocked. I also took it upon myself to decorate the tables.
The day before I had gathered up some Easter and spring-looking decorations from around my house. I even took a few flower pots and items from my garden area (I am a Martha Stewart wanna-be, without the prison time). The tables looked great and the morning was enjoyed by all.
Later that afternoon, I unloaded the decorations from my car and placed everything on the kitchen table. I set about putting the items back into their proper places. That’s when I noticed something strange looking on the table. HOLY COW – it was a baby bird! A live, newborn baby bird! Confused, I looked around trying to figure out where it had come from. That’s when I realized the birdhouse I had taken from my garden, to use as a breakfast table decoration, must have had eggs in it. And between the warm temperatures of the church’s fellowship hall and my kitchen, the eggs had hatched.
My squeal of shock caught my youngest son’s attention and I looked up to see his face frozen in horror. Newborn baby birds are not the cutest things. In fact, they are pretty ugly. But my heart was aching knowing a mother bird was probably frantically looking for her nest of eggs. I took a step back trying to figure out what to do next and I felt a “crunch” under my shoe. I immediately said a silent prayer and begged for it to be a leaf or anything else except what I thought it was.
My worst fear was confirmed when I looked down and saw that I had stepped on a sibling to the bird that was now struggling for life on my kitchen table. My son saw the look on my face and said, “What’s wrong , Mom? What’s wrong?!” I knew there was no delicate way to get out of this situation.
The birds didn’t make it, and I was forced to have a brief and tearful conversation about the “Circle of Life” with my son. It was definitely not the way I had imagined the day ending up when I started that morning.
Unfortunately, when your mom kills two baby birds on Easter Sunday, there’s just no way to erase that kind of memory. There’s no card to make it better. I know – I’ve looked for one. And in an effort to help others who may have gone through this kind of tragedy, I even reached out to Hallmark. Surprisingly, they have not returned my calls.
Happy Easter, everyone – I hope your day is only filled with birds that are alive!