Monday, September 11, 2006

Mourning Ginger and Her Babies

Some time after I had tucked my daughter into bed tonight, Andy and I heard crying coming from behind her closed door. Odd, I thought, as she and I had giggled together in saying our good-nights, just a few minutes earlier. The closer I got to her door, the more clearly I could hear that she was sobbing with some sort of grief, sobbing softly, but clearly distraught over something.

As it turns out, something unexpectedly triggered her memory and she was reminded of Ginger's babies, who were all lost tragically about a year ago.

Perhaps I should back up a little.

Ginger was a part of our failed poultry experiment. She was one of our hens. One by one, all of the hens were stolen away by sneaky predators, leaving us with only an occasional pile of feathers. Ginger was the last hen to go. She was the kids' favorite, as much for her pretty coloring and sweet disposition as for her longevity.

When the last hen was gone, and we were left with only Joseph, the multi-colored rooster who took it upon himself to announce the dawn about two hours before it actually arrived, we called an end to our initial attempt at raising poultry. Joseph was given to some friends with a larger flock (brood?). They assure us he is doing very well there.

Back to my dear daughter's tears. I'm not sure what triggered it, but she recalled that, at the time Ginger was stolen from the chicken coop, she had a nest full of eggs that she had been sitting (setting?) upon. I didn't trust them to be any good for eating any more, as, having tried it, we are just not into the Filipino delicacy of balut (seventeen day old fertilized duck egg). Not knowing which eggs were older and which were more recent, we destroyed the eggs.

This was the source of the tears. My little pro-lifer was mourning for all those little chicks who never hatched, who never had the chance to grow up to be good little roosters and hens. Their shells were broken, their lives spilled out before they even had a chance.

A year ago.

I cuddled her and dried her tears, relieved that she could not see any of my facial expressions in the darkened bedroom.

I thought it best not to remind her that the more tragic loss was that of Ginger herself, who had most likely been snatched from overhead by an owl, as there were no signs of entry into the fenced chicken coop. What of her dreadful fate?

I also thought it best not to remind her that she herself had been the one to gleefully smash all the eggs when she realized that there were no hens left to sit (set?) on them. She had thoroughly enjoyed the destructive nature of the activity, at the time.

Oh well. Eventually her tears subsided and she fell asleep.

Tomorrow night, she may grieve over the dead moths in the windowsill. Or, she may try to smash some more with a newspaper. You just never know with this child.


Sheila said...

I don't know if this helps, but Sally was much the same way with delayed grief. I think that young girls have very strong feelings and they don't know how to express them, so they think of something to focus their sadness on. At least, that has been the case with Sally. It's the same way with her anger. Suddenly, she'll be mad at something I've done, when she's never been angry about it before. It's difficult for me to sympathize with the feelings because I just can't see the logic in it (my INTJ personality coming out).
By the way, what's with the Do Not Touch deal above? You know I'm going to touch it . . . .

Anonymous said...

Hmmm......seems like you have about 6 years before the HORMONES kick in! Have a good day. Mom C.

Cindee said...

BTW, thanks, ever so much for the balut link. I did read the article in it's entirety (sp?) because, well, it would have been worse if left to my imagination!! My sister-in-law is Filipino and I now have to find out if this is ever on her menu. I'm so grossed out I can't even begin to explain it. Now to find someone else to pass this recipe on to... ha!