Sucker punched

I am sitting in the airport reflecting on the senseless bits and pieces of the day thus far.

This morning my eldest and I rushed into the classroom to check on the baby chicks that began hatching two days ago in an incubator in his classroom. A small group of students was huddled together reading books with their teacher.

One of the girls immediately announced that a baby chick had died.

The teacher shook her head.

All of them, she said.

All of them? I repeated, incredulous.

One I can understand. I almost expected one not to make it given their vulnerability and diminutive nature.

But all fifteen?

I felt sucker punched when I realized that this engaging and heartfelt project had ended so abruptly and harshly.

Like the children, I thought “it’s not fair!” and “why did they die?”

There is no good reason.

My son was angelic as he kissed me goodbye, but not before insisting I stay to look at a dinosaur book for a few minutes. His eyes were wide open when he was told that the fledgling chicks died, and then he changed the subject as we left the room. I inquired about how he was feeling, but he wasn’t ready to go there. So we read the dinosaur book and I headed to the office.

I was too distracted to listen to the morning story on NPR, but I did check my Twitter account at a stoplight.

Today is not only the First Day of Summer, it is Daylight Appreciation Day.

I know this because Ellen DeGeneres tweeted about it this morning (and yes, I follow Ellen because she is awesome and I have a crush on her and no, she is not yet following me).

Ellen thinks it’s really silly to have Daylight Appreciation Day, but I think it’s wonderful. Ellen has obviously never endured 40 consecutive days of rain and gloom and clouds like we do in the Pacific Northwest. The power of the sun is like nothing else. Sun increases our productivity and intellectual capacity, boosts the immune system, and reduces anxiety and depression.

The sun is a hurculean presence in our lives.

If I had known it was Daylight Appreciation Day, I would have done something special to celebrate!

The good news is that I still can.

I recently discovered a marvelous blog called Inherit the Spoon that weaves together tales of food, food justice, and family. I couldn’t resist clicking on the link called “Good Night Gorilla” because that is the name of one of my youngest son’s favorite books. We call it the “Banana Book” because he likes to point out the sunshine-colored fruit on every single page. It turns out I’m not alone, because somebody else’s kid loves it so much that he is addicted to this book.

I love it when unexpected commonalities refresh my own experience in parenting.

and

I hate it when unexpected loss darkens my day.

Today I will appreciate the daylight till it disappears beneath the horizon, and I will mourn the gentle spirits of the baby chicks.

I am filled with gratitude because I have two children for whom I can find the strength and patience (most days, anyway) to read and re-read Good Night, Gorilla at least 32 million times before crashing into the sofa with a glass of wine and a book.

Enjoy the light, readers.

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2 thoughts on “Sucker punched

  1. paralaxvu says:

    Happy Daylight Appreciation Day to you, too! And condolences on the loss of the chicks to both you and your son. It may have hit you even harder than he because you have a much deeper realization of death than the little one.

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