Yesterday, after school pick up, Palmer and I started chatting about planting a garden. About what we would plant (Tomatoes…jalapenos…onions. Hey! We could make a salsa garden! Yeah, and then we could make our own salsa! Cool!) About what those plants would need. (I learned in Science all about that, Mom.) About how we could do it together. (That could be our special thing.) It was a sweet conversation and as I was driving, I was already thinking about how I wanted to write it down so I could remember it always.
And just about that time, Palmer yelled out, “Mom! Look out for the ducks!”
Sure enough, a mama duck and her baby ducklings were right in front of my car, crossing the street. The street where most people travel a minimum of 45mph. Minimum.
I missed the ducklings by 10 feet, swerved into the middle of the road, threw the car into park and told Palmer to stay in the car before jumping out. He immediately disobeyed which, of course, didn’t surprise me at all.
So now there were two mamas and their babies out in the street in the middle of traffic.
We managed to help Mama Duck and babies cross safely and watched as she hopped up on the curb and into the grass. The problem was that her babies couldn’t jump the curb. She immediately started quacking, which I took as a mother-to-mother cry for help.
“She needs our help, Palmer. Grab the baby ducks and put them on the grass.”
“It’s Duck Dynasty, Mom!”
Yes, Buddy. Without the guns. Couldn’t have loved my boy more at that moment.
As we tried to help, Mama Duck quacked even louder at us, clearly unsure of our intentions. The ducklings made their little quacking sounds, yelling for their Mama. We got all of the ducklings up on the curb except for one. The last one, realizing that he had been left behind, freaked out and started running away from us. I didn’t know this until yesterday, but baby ducklings are fast little suckers! That little guy wanted no part of us, even though we were only trying to help him.
Finally, we caught the last duckling and after putting him safely with his family headed back to our own car. And about two seconds after buckling out seat belts, we saw Mama Duck and her babies going BACK across the street.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me!” (That was Palmer.)
So we hopped out of the car and did it all over again.
Not surprisingly, we’ve talked a lot about those little ducks in the last 24 hours. We’ve wondered where they are if they are doing okay. Palmer even included them in his nightly prayers. When you save the lives of a duck family, it’s hard not to fall in love.
Which is why I am so heartbroken over what I saw driving home today. There, in the middle of the street, totally crushed, was Mama Duck. I wanted to cry. Am I certain that it was it her? No, I’m not totally sure, but it looked a lot like her. And besides, how many ducks walk across a road when they can fly? Mama Ducks who are walking their babies across the street, that’s who.
The ducklings were nowhere to be seen. I wanted to pull the car over again, just like yesterday, and find those babies. I wanted to rescue those ducklings and be their new Mama. The problem was, my boys were in the car and I just couldn’t bring myself to allow them to see the deceased Mama Duck. Especially a Mama Duck flat as a pancake.
I have a feeling that up in Heaven, they are making way for ducklings.