I was out running errands yesterday and I was stuck at a red light at an intersection. As we sat there in the car, my mind was simply thinking about the next thing on the errand list, but Wes broke that thought and yelled, “Look mom! Ducks!” He yelled this as he pointed at a fenced in, chain linked yard filled with ducks, enjoying the summer afternoon like they owned the yard. I immediately was confused by the sight…I mean what the heck are ducks doing in a regular, slightly small, neighborhood yard? Wes was fascinated! He immediately asked, “Those ducks are their pets? Can we get one?”
It got me thinking and remembering a time when I was asking that same exact question 30 years ago. I was almost 6 and I was out for a walk with my Grandma. She lived in this beautiful neighborhood with quiet streets and large ponds surrounded by huge billowy trees. It was very reminiscent of her Southern roots. She grew up in Georgia and her southern accent never went away. It was the cutest.
Anyway, we were out for a walk around one of those large ponds and we had just fed the ducks leftover bread. An activity we always did together. I can still remember as we walked along the path, hearing a high pitched chirping noise coming from a drain in the gutter. I ran toward the grate and peered inside to see a baby duck that had fallen through the cracks and couldn’t get out. My little heart couldn’t take it. My grandma got down on the ground next to me and helped me rescue the little duck. I was so proud and immediately felt like a hero.
We knew the duck wouldn’t survive on its own so I took it home in a large cardboard box and let my mom know we had a new pet. If you know my mom, you know she could not be less of a pet person. She hates the mess, the smell and the noise….so actually, looking back, I am completely shocked she let me do this.
I set up the box in our mud room and began nursing the duck to adulthood. Oddly enough, by the 2 week mark, this duck was no longer a baby. I sometimes feel like my own kids are growing this fast, but I digress. This duck was ready to spread his wings! I was a proud, proud mother. But I had no intentions of letting that duck leave. I was his mother and I wasn’t going to let him go. I was planning on putting a leash on him and taking him for walks like a dog. I knew it would work.
One morning, my mom let me know that she thought it was a good idea to move the box to the back porch to let him have a little more space. I thought that was a great idea. He probably would love to see the clouds and the sun. I got him situated, I said my goodbyes to my son and headed to school. I came home from school and headed straight to the back porch to an empty box. He had left me! After all I had provided him with. I was super heartbroken and felt completely abandoned.
About a month ago I got my kids a Betta fish. They have been begging me for a lizard or a hamster for years, so I thought that a fish was a good compromise. I told them that I just really wanted nothing to do with taking care of it. They promised me they would do all the work and they named him “Retail”….don’t ask me why, he is their child so I didn’t question their terrible decisions. A month has passed and what do you know, I am the one that has cleaned the bowl 3 times now and worried about Retail’s well being. Not what I signed up for. I can’t help but laugh at my mom’s brilliance of convincing me to move the duck to the back porch. Now that I am a mom with an uncanny similarity to my own mother when it comes to pets, I admire her creativity. Now I just need to figure out a creative way to let the kids fish run away! 🤔