Have you ever noticed that wisdom often becomes apparent on the back side of your choice; because having lived out your decision, you discover that your proclivity was not truly wise at all? Thus, we are inclined to say: “If only I had known then what I know now.” I am in the midst of one of those moments. Before I confess my error, let me tell you the hopes, dreams, and visions that put me on my present course.
It started just about five weeks ago at Easter time. As a mother of 5, mother-in-law of 5, and grandmother of 17, I love to celebrate holidays and make memories. Like most families, our family has traditions. Church tops our list as we commemorate the resurrection of Jesus. The day includes new Easter garments and photos, lunch and the traditional Easter ham, colored eggs and various types of candy. The older and wiser my children become, the less candy they allow their children to eat. The older and wiser my grandchildren become, the less candy they allow themselves to eat. The older and wiser I become, the less money I wish to invest in candy that nobody will eat. It would appear that all of us grow a little wiser with each passing Easter.
This past holiday, however, I decided to change up the normal and add a little Nana-flare to our event. I bought cute, little, fuzzy, furry ducks for each family unit. I envisioned Easter ducks would evoke joyous “oohs and ahhs” from my family as my children were delighted with a non-chocolate treat and my grands were thrilled to have their very own living, darling, snuggly pet. Yes, that is indeed how I saw it in my mind’s eye!
On Easter afternoon, I made an announcement that the whole gang should assemble in my living room for the big surprise. I could feel the anticipation mounting. Into the room of smiling faces and twinkling eyes, I carried the ducks. Squeals filled the air. The little guys squealed in anxiety and ran behind their parents. The grade-schoolers began to man-handle the ducks causing the ducklings to squeal in fear. And my children – the parents – likewise squealed out the words, “You’re not giving us those ducks for us to raise!” Almost instantly a level of wisdom began to dawn upon me. Easter ducks may, in the light of reality, have been a poor substitute for a chocolate bunny!
From that day until this, my wisdom is growing exponentially. I have been raising ducks. I had to buy a pen, wood chips for the pen, a lamp and light for warmth, a feeder, feed, and a water dispenser. My foyer is now home to the duck pen. My traditionally-decorated, beautifully-adorned entry way has a hint of a barn yard. At least, it did for the first few weeks. Ducks grow quickly. Ducks eat a good amount of grain and discard at least three times the volume they eat. They drink and splash, eat and mess, drink and splash, eat and mess, and then repeat the whole process over and over. I’m pretty sure they lack wisdom, which is probably why we call someone a “quack” when they do something stupid. And when a friend acts too silly, we call them “daffy” – which name originated with a duck by the way!
In so many ways, reality and fantasy have collided in the foyer of my home. Choices and wisdom have crashed head on. For example, in an effort to eliminate duck aroma, I placed the fowl creatures in a big tub of water. “Ducks swim. Ducklings have to start swimming sometime,” I told myself. So, we all took the plunge. The first water bath lasted almost an hour. When I pulled them out, they seemed to be unable to stand firmly on their webbed feet. They fell forward; I braced upward; they squealed weakly; I cried frantically. “I killed the Easter ducks,” was my foremost thought. They finally did regain their balance, and I later discovered that feather-less baby ducks absorb water through the down. More wisdom!
So – here I am – a wiser Nana and shrewder duck-raiser. I only have two to three more months until my wisdom and their growth is fully mature. My sons are saying “I told you so!” I am able to say, “I do know now what I need to know tomorrow.” Easter and baby ducks are not in my family’s future and wisdom for next-season’s Easter surprise will definitely be founded upon the backward look at my duck tale.