5/24/13

My Best Parenting Moment Yet!

Daughter sat in the chair next to me and let her troubles tumble out. Out of respect, we will not speak of the troubles. Suffice to say, fifteen is a cruel age.

We were outside, and I was in the total ZONE where you nod and listen attentively, where you know you are doing everything right.

I hummingbird was flitting nearby, back and forth. The wind was blowing, gently. I was a zen master.  I turned my head, slightly, and there was the hummingbird, two-feet away from my face. I meaner, faster woman might have reached out and grabbed it.

"Wow! Look at that."  But, of course, by that time the hummingbird was long gone. I decided we needed to go a little bit mystic.  Pointing to the Hummingbird, now totally across the yard, I said, "My friend Carol would say we should see that hummingbird as a spiritual guide. Native Americans believed that encounters with animals were often symbolic. Maybe that hummingbird is trying to tell us something. We'll look it up later."

The girl was not ready for mysticism. Troubles, troubles, troubles. I babbling brook of troubles.  

And then, behind us, the smallest of squeaks. We turned out heads.  There, near the dog, was the hummingbird, lying in the grass.

Daughter ran to get me my gardening gloves. I lifted the small thing up. Maybe it just needed a rest! All I needed was to get it somewhere safe, somewhere away from the dog!  It's small chest moved so fast, until it slowed and stopped. It was seconds, moments only.

"No, no. I think it's dead."

"Oh great! My spiritual guide is dead! That's the message it has for me. It's dead." The girl stormed off, her voice loud and uneven.

And there I stood, suddenly all alone, with a dead hummingbird in my gloved hands. The zen master no more.

18 comments:

kim ohanneson said...

Margaret, no! If you put that in a script, no one would believe it,

I'm sorry you were a casualty in the battle of nature vs. nurture.

Rois said...

Ouch.
Shall I send chocolates? Notice the plural there.

Olga said...

I would go through the terrible twos twice to avoid that 15 year old turmoil. And we don't think they listen, but they do--just to store it up to throw back in our faces at an opportune time, such as at the death of a hummingbird.

altadenahiker said...

The hummingbird was right, of course. This too shall pass.

Ronna Mandel said...

Thanks for sharing this. Wish I could say something meaningful, but you said it all.

Margaret said...

AH: always so clever

Ms M said...

Poignant, sad, puzzling.
Chocolate is definitely in order.

Petrea Burchard said...

This broke my heart a little, as I'm sure it did yours, and hers.

Bellis said...

It broke my heart a little too. Not quite the end to a wonderful parenting moment that you wanted.

Adele said...

Three broken hearts. Fifteen is awful, for child and (I'm told) parent as well. But as a previous fifteen year old, I can tell you that she'll remember the time with you and be grateful for it.

Star said...

Poignant. Thank you for sharing. I have faith, though she can't see it, yet, that everything will work out for the best. I have thanked the Cosmos many many times for not granting some wishes, only to give me something infinitely more beautiful and precious, later, that wouldn't have been possible had the first wishes been granted.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least you didn't have your cat jump 10 feet in the air and KILL a hummingbird .Oh the humanity.

Desiree said...

I'm sorry. Parenting is either one painful slow death, or a painful humiliating eternity. With droplets of joy to make it all worthwhile.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

oh oh oh - no no no. That is the saddest thing I've ever read from you. It's not only hard to be 15, it's hard to be the mother of a 15 year old - and a little hummingbird that died in your hands

Pasadena Adjacent said...

what Desiree said - she is so smart

TheChieftess said...

No Greek tragedy could match this one!!!

Ann Erdman said...

I have two grown daughters who were once 15. Such a challenging time! But trust me, it's survivable. We look back now and laugh (well, I do, anyway).

Susan Campisi said...

Oh no. I did not see that coming. Isn't that just like life: filled with painful surprises. Hopefully by now your daughter's troubles are forgotten.