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'Feathers' the Duck ~ Set Free
Any single parent knows the seemingly unending challenges in raising children by yourself.
I am a single father to three of the most amazing girls that I've ever met.
I've tried to raise them to be compassionate, considerate... to be responsible and to have good judgement... to understand that their actions can make some difference in our world... that they have within them the power to make changes to our reality...
Today I am so filled with pride.
On May 20th my daughter came home with a brood of tiny ducklings in her tee shirt.
She had tears in her eyes.
Mama duck was killed by a car and the ducklings were milling about their mama's smooshed body waiting for some miracle that would never come...
They must've just hatched because they were so tiny and helpless... cute with their fluffy yellow and brown down and their tiny little duckbills...
My daughters decided that they'd raise these little fuzzballs...
They researched and they learned all about the care of ducklings... they took turns staying up late to adjust the lights that kept them warm... they'd read next to them and watch for signs that they were too cold or too hot.
Every day they'd feed them and clean their pen.
In the first days we lost a couple and the house was filled with tears.
It was a heartbreaking time.
Dad had to have the sensitivity to let them absorb this lesson... that there is no substitute for the skill of a mother duck in raising her chicks... that the girls were doing their best... that nature was 'culling' the weakest chicks so that the strong could survive...
And dad had to leave the room for a few minutes after trying to teach them that one.
They had to raise these ducklings and I had to raise them.
Still the tears flowed and there were a couple of duck funerals in our backyard... one of my daughters got really upset and claimed 'this is all my fault!'
I let the lessons sink in and I encouraged them as much as I could... I never did anything more than capture the ducks when they got out...
They knew that they were doing this on their own.
As the little ducks grew the joy of watching them grow overcame the sadness of the early loss and their waddling around the yard made us all laugh and smile...
Each day the girls took care of them... each night they put them to bed in a tiny pen in our shed... in the morning they'd put them in another pen theyd built in the yard... give them baths with the hose and feed them...
The little ducks grew and they grew so fast and pretty soon we all knew it was time to let them go.
I had told them in the first days that if they could raise just one of the ducks to maturity that they'd done a good job.
They raised four.
Today we let the last one go... 'Feathers.'
She'd become quite 'imprinted' on us... she was the one I'd run into in my bathroom... she was the one who thought she was a person... she was the one who'd walk into the house if the door was left open... she was the one who expected a seat at the dinner table...
We drove in my truck to the pond near our house and my youngest daughter insisted at the last minute on carrying Feathers in her arms so she could give her one last hug.
There would be no more baths with her duck friend.
There were some tears as we said goodbye and Feathers waddled into the water...
She let out some quacks of joy and she looked really happy.
Then she ran across the water and joined her siblings who'd been in the pond for two days.
She started eating right away.
My daughters tears dried up and they became filled with pride as Feathers started swimming and cavorting with the others...
They knew right there that they had done this...
I told them how proud I was of them and gave a round of hugs and took some pictures.
The proudest one at the pond right there was me.
It's moments like this that make all of the challenges and all of the strle so worth it... these moments are the payoff.
Moments when you see the product of the way you've raised your children.
These girls will make a difference in our world.
They already have.
Jeanne saved my soul
again last night,
she bathed me in love.
She told me I was beautiful,
and then I made her come a lot.
She made me special perfumed tea,
went and bought patisserie,
put on music: Bob Marley,
lay me back and fed me.
She read a poem by Baudelaire,
sitting naked in a chair,
her perfume filled the holy air,
and eased my tired heart.
She lit a fire later on,
put her bra and panties on.
I watched her as her beauty shone,
and filled my empty soul.
And though I did my best and tried,
sadness claimed me and I cried.
She wiped the wetness from my eyes,
being kind, she said she didn`t mind.
She drew a bath and washed me clean,
then kneeling took me by degrees.
She held me till I went to sleep,
then put me on the 10:15.
God you work in wondrous ways.
bless this girl for all her days.
And when I`m old and tired and grey,
I'll think of this day.
- Bob Geldof, 10:15
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