Lesson 807 – Getting Back Up

In the beginning, when each of my kids was born, Marc presented me with a tiny golden head inscribed with each new family member’s name. Those medals were a constant physical reminder, as clearly as any military dog tags ever could, of who I was and the role I now played in our growing family. I wore the necklace with pride night and day.

I stopped the heads at #3, however, because along the way, we had lost a baby and like many other young mothers, I didn’t know how to go forward. Did I add the baby girl’s name – Elizabeth to my necklace? Or did I just leave her off and recognize that she had been here but was now gone. I didn’t want to be constantly reminded of a loss, but I also didn’t want to be a traitor to her memory.

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It was easier to just stop wearing the necklace altogether.

It’s true what they say about a certain amount of wisdom coming only with age.  If you are lucky enough to be able to spend a few years on this earth, you eventually realize that time has a way of smoothing out even the bumpiest of rides. With many years’ worth of experience, I realize now that life was never guaranteed to be something that even remotely resembled fairness. Some babies make it (and for that we are eternally grateful 6 times over) while others simply don’t have the strength to carry on. It’s no one’s fault, it simply is what it is.

This philosophy of “is” carries over to all aspects, some people, dogs, chickens, and even some carefully laid life plans will make it, while others never will. Death and unfairness is as much a part of existence as is birth and joy. Over the years, this has been proven again and again in our family with hospitalizations, injuries, and chronic illnesses that would buckle the knees of any Superman. It’s also been seen in the moments of exquisite beauty and tenderness – a flower by the side of the road, a child whispering a secret in your ear, and a chicken who came to live in a household that desperately needed a jolt of “I-can-do-it-ness.”

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Life is about falling down 9 times but getting up 10 – and then having a party with your friends in order to celebrate that tremendous feat of rising, once again, from the dust and ashes.

This past week, I found out about a woman (Lauren of Crowbirdie Beads) who makes custom chicken glass beads. You send her a photo of your chicken, or describe its features and personality and she’ll create a glass bead to wear on a necklace.

I’ve decided to get one of Charlie, our Black Copper Maran who survived despite her mangled feet and especially despite the fact that because I couldn’t let go of her (ack, she might get hurt!), she stayed in our home as a house-chicken for 6 months. Charlie exemplifies that indomitable spirit so necessary in a life of constant ups and downs. My little chicken, who is alive and well – happily living outside with her coop mates, ended up teaching me the most valuable life lesson of “there can be great joy and peace in letting go.”

What better reminder than that to wear around your neck?

baby charlie

***
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

8 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Life Lessons, Mama Hen, Maran chickens, Violet

8 responses to “Lesson 807 – Getting Back Up

  1. A beautiful post, Wendy. Exactly what I needed on this day of new beginnings.

  2. Elaine McManness

    Bravo, Wendy!

  3. Barb

    You just touched me to the bottom of my heart! I so enjoy your posts, thank you so much.

  4. I enjoy all your writing, but what a beautiful message today Wendy!!! Thank you!

  5. Thank you, Wendy, for sharing such an emotional post with us. To answer your question, even if it was rhetorical; Yes, it is a beautiful way to remember those lessons and loved ones that have embedded themselves in out hearts and thoughts.

  6. That “woman” you speak of who makes the chicken beads is my wife (who was profoundly moved by this post, btw). For some unknown reason (quite possibly this reference to her shop made by you), she has been literally awash in new custom chicken bead orders this week. She suffers from fibro and a progressive form of arthritis that I can’t spell so I won’t even try. Needless to say that the message here was not lost on her. She just spent the last two days in a “flare-up” of fatigue and spent most of the time sleeping, unable at some points to even get out of bed. Yet, despite this, she has been talking non-stop (when not sleeping and all morning today) about these new beads she will be making. Before she got sick, she was a woman who rarely sat still. She worked full time and still found time to “torch” (the melting and sculpting of glass process) before and after work, work outside on our homestead, garden, play with the chickens, and literally spend hours after dark with a flashlight searching every inch of our property until she found some evidence of what might have happened to a missing chicken come evening head count. To see her unable to carry out all the things she thinks she needs to do in one day breaks my heart. She so often comes to bed feeling useless because she didn’t do this or this or this. I know it’s my job to remind her that she might not have done THOSE things but she DID do this and this and this AND this! This will make her smile and offer up a fading “Oh, yeah. I did. Thank you honey” before she drops off to sleep. I am also disabled AND we take care of my 89 year old mother who at this point is really very spry and doesn’t need that much constant care as you might think of someone her age so we manage. We are fortunate to have found each other when we did (celebrating our 4th wedding anniversary tomorrow) at this later stage in life. And we are also fortunate that fate seems to have shined it’s smile on us as we seem to rotate in and out of bad health flare ups. It’s a rare thing for us to both be down at the same time and for that we are eternally grateful. Needless to say, your message wasn’t lost on me either. ANYWAY, the joy that these special orders these brought her has been SO VERY WONDERFUL that I had to thank you for this post and for the link. You made a difference whether the sales came from you or not. Yes, indeed, you made a HUGE difference.
    So… THANK YOU!
    MJ

    • Mary Jo,

      Thank you for leaving this comment on my post. I’m just getting ready to send photos of our Charlie to be made into a bead which I will wear with pride.

      I don’t believe in co-incidences. Sometimes things were just meant to happen. It sounds like that’s the case in this situation.

      Very happy that positive things are happening in your lives and I look forward to the day when I can wear my “Charlie bead.”

      Wendy

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