Sunday, June 20, 2004
Yesterday, and last night Laura and I celebrated the two year anniversary of the day we met. It was on Father's Day, 2002 on the Royal Caribbean ship "Enchantment of the Seas". Our meeting on the ship was the best example of serendipity I can think of. It was the beginning of my new life. It was the beginning of love in my life. Except for the love you and I shared as parent and child, there had been no love in my life for too many years. I have come to understand that there never was any love in the marriage - we had merely been "tolerating" each other and wasting life.
The picture I posted earlier of you and the duckling reminded me of when you found that fuzzy little creature, and how we went looking for the nest it wandered away from so that we could return it to its nest, which we never found. We put the little duck in a cardboard box and you nurtured and loved it better than any small girl could ever have loved her orphaned duckling.
The mandate from your mother was that you had to "....get rid of that duck!" It wouldn't have hurt anything if you had been able to keep it for just one more day, but ultimately, we would have to find a place for it. Her solution was to put in the yard, under a bush. It was summer. It was hot. There were stray cats and dogs. You refused, and I supported you....because you were right.
I found a bird shelter in Woodstock, phoned the woman who maintained it, and together, you and I began the long, sad drive to surrender your duckling. You tried to imagine ways to keep it, and the wheels in your mind were spinning furiously as you tried to think of places where you could hide it. I enjoyed your willingness to assume the risks involved with keeping the duck, and was impressed by your love of the little duck.
When we got there, we met the woman who ran the shelter for birds which had been injured came out to meet us. She was in her late 40's or early 50's, wore blue jeans, and was wearing a broad brimmed straw hat. She lived on that property alone, and her passion was the care of injured birds. She peered into the box you carried and pronounced your duck to be a healthy baby which had waddled too far from home.
You carried your duck in its box as she gave us the tour of her home and the many birds she was caring for. You were not going to relinquish your duck easily!
She showed us robins, starlings, a cockatoo, a couple of crows, and even a red-tailed hawk. Most had been shot.
Still carrying your duckling you headed for the car when the tour was over, and the woman went after you and patiently explained that she was better able to care for it than almost anyone else.
You asked her if you could visit your duck, and she said that you could visit it anytime. I enjoyed seeing how you had resolved to hang onto the little duck which meant the world to you!!
You tearfully handed her the box containing your duck, and she put her arm around you. You asked her if you could help her take care of the birds. You knew that I would drive you out there because it was something which was important to you
She told you that her biggest challenge was paying for the food and medical care the birds required. You quickly spotted her "donation jar" and asked if I would give her some money. You promised that you would pay me back if I would give her money. I told you that I loved the duck too, and would happily donate funds. I gave you some money ($6.00, I think), and told you that you didn't have to pay me back.
You were very sad and crying when we drove away, but you recognized that the duck would be well cared for.
On the way home, you started making plans for future visits and imagining ways to make money and contribute to the cause of saving the birds. We made one more trip out there, and I think that the duck had matured and flown away by then.
Since today is Father's Day, and since you are forbidden by your mother to acknowledge any part of me, I am considering today to be "Daughter's Day". Years ago, I invented "Kid's Day" because you saw mothers and fathers being celebrated, but not kids. I picked a day at random and made a card and bought you a gift, and the tradition of "KID'S DAY" was born.
Laura has given me a Father's Day on your behalf.
Here is a picture of the button you gave me in a card one Father's Day - it works just as well for Daughter's Day:
With all of my love,