as we grow up we learn that there is very little in life that is actually black or white, and much more that is grey. What we tell our children on a daily basis often falls into that grey category. While I’m not advocating for lying to your children, nor justifying it, it happens and it can be utilitarian. Santa Clause, sleeping with wet hair, swallowing gum; these are all things parents fib about, for whatever reason. So here is my admission of a recent lie. It all started with this very natural occurrence:
What I saw was a perfectly natural situation. Nests, and eggs, fall out of trees all of the time. I think it’s one of those ways nature makes sure the Earth is not overrun by Robins. And I’m sure earthworms have a special appreciation for this occurrence. What the girls saw was a home destroyed, a family ripped apart and somewhere a small, helpless bird wandering aimlessly trying to make sense of its new “homeless orphan” status. And what was I to tell them when they asked what happened and where was the bird? How was I to answer all the questions this grounded nest raised?
Well, maybe not bold-faced. But I facilitated Sweetie’s creation of a narrative that was much easier to deal with. After a few leading questions and some gentle redirections, Sweetie guessed that the bird had hatched from the egg and decided to fly. It leapt with such enthuusiasm and joi de vive that it knocked the nest right out of the tree.
Yep, that’s it. That’s the story and we’re sticking with it.
So why lie? In the moment, it was easier than dealing with explaining to the girls about the “circle of life”. And it’s not like we haven’t talked about life and death before (RIP Blueberry the beta fish). On that day I just didn’t feel like dealing with it. Thankfully the girls didn’t notice the ants swarming the egg. And that broke up and went away fast enough. So now we just have a cool bird’s nest in front of our place.
On a strange note, or more, a circle of life note: Just after we found this nest and I fabricated the story and formulated this post, Peter S from The Ad Dad dropped a post about his 10 month old puppy getting a terminal diagnosis from a very malignant tumor. And how he gets to explain that to his son. Crummy life lesson there. So, stories aside, if you’ve ever lost a pet and know how that feels, maybe you could pop on over to The Ad Dad and give them an encouraging comment. Like crowd-sourced emotional support, ya’know. You can tell from the pictures, Scout is a good dog.