27 April 2005

Waxbills Winging It And The Never-ending Search For Wisdom

"Ah, as we prayed for human help; angels soundlessly, with single strides, climbed over our prostrate hearts." ~ Ranier Maria Rilke

These past two weeks since my last entry have proven to be quite challenging. I usually enjoy challenges, but the ones that hold the most lessons, the important life stuff, aren't necessarily the most fun to experience and walk through. And that's just what I've been doing, stumbling a bit, perhaps, but walking through - one day at a time or, as Anne Lamott might say, I've been taking life "Bird by Bird".

I am a bit short on time, but I wanted to get this brief post out and I plan on "filling in the blanks" later this evening when I have had more coffee and more time to collect all of those swirling thoughts flitting about my head.

Here are a few highlights since last I blogged:

I'm happy to report that Julianna Banana and Nicholas Picklus Waxbill are doing fine and seem to be fitting in quite well in the aviary. Their initiation hasn't been too tumultuous and I have caught them in various empty nests, resting, perhaps trying them on for size and seeing if one of them feels like home. No, we don't have any eggs from our new feathered pair, but I remain very hopeful that in time we will have little "banana and picklus" waxbills enrolled in flight lessons and trying our their new wings. I am quite certain that our pair of Canadian Inspired Waxbills are, in fact, male and female, which is a good step in the right direction. They sit together, preen each other, hang together in the plants and share their meals at the same millet stand. So far, so good. Feathers haven't been flying and that's always a good sign. They are still beautiful and seem to interact as if on "fast-forward" or rather, birds who've had too much coffee! Since I don't give my birds coffee, I would say they are simply a bit hyperactive. They're great fun to watch. I'll post a couple of new photos of them later today.

In other aviary news, we have one pair of Zebra Finches who are sitting on a clutch of four eggs, probably less than a week away from hatching and we have another pair of Zebras who are sitting tight on five eggs that were laid in the past week. In other words, should things go according to plan, within the next 3 weeks, we should have at least 8 Zebra Finch hatchlings. Mind you, we still have 6 week old babies from the last clutch who are now accomplished flyers and who's beaks are in transition from black to orange. In a few days we will be able to tell if they are male or female.

They grow up so fast!

Speaking of growing up, my house is rampant with growing pains. The column I wrote that was published in today's newspaper was probably meant more as a reminder for me than for my readers. I am working assiduously to bite my tongue, my cheek, my whatever, in order not to explode and that's not a very comfortable state to find oneself in. Not at all. I repeat "The Serenity Prayer" about a thousand times a day, in order to keep me in a prayerful state which will hopefully remind me of what I can and, just as importantly, what I can NOT change and, oh yes, Please God, the wisdom to know the difference! Wisdom is such a precious commodity but it is usually a by-product of mistakes made and lessons learned. If that IS the case, I must be stock-piling all kinds of wisdom (in it's raw, as yet unrefined state). One of these days I just might break out in a huge case of wisdom, given the landscape I am traversing just now, and I welcome the time when I will feel a little more wise and less confused than I do at this moment.

I have to close right now, but I did want to get this out, rather than keep putting off a post. I'll elaborate later. One thing about it, it's NEVER dull in this house. Right about now, dull looks pretty enticing.

Wish me well, and I'll wish the same right back to you.

Peace out!

"Single...With Children" - Published April 27, 2005

Single With Children: Avoid being hurtful when answering the big 'Why?'

Susie Parker
Publication Date: 04/27/05

If you are a divorced parent, chances are a tough question is looming in your future.

It's a question no one looks forward to, but eventually is going to pop up. And no matter how ready you may think you are to handle it, there's still a very good chance it might blindside you.

"Why did you and (insert Mom/Dad) get a divorce?"

Talk about a loaded question! Taking the Fifth Amendment may placate a judge and jury, but it doesn't work if the interrogator has your eyes and your spouse's nose and smile.

You might be given a little time to prepare because it's usually one of those "lead up to" questions. Depending on the child's age, the query may come in different forms, such as "Why don't you and Daddy live together anymore?", "Why don't you love Mommy?", or "Why did Dad move out?"

The only thing more difficult than pondering the question is giving serious consideration to your answer. Obviously, the child's age and maturity level must be considered. The answer should be delivered with sensitivity, consideration and as much gentle honesty as possible.

In particularly nasty divorces, this might seem like a rich opportunity for character assassination. As tempting as it may be to get your side of the story out, take a deep breath and collect your thoughts. Before you open your mouth, remember you are not simply addressing the faults of your former spouse. You also are preparing to answer an important question posed by someone you love with all your heart.

It's one thing to dredge up every horrible, unkind action your ex-wife/husband committed to your friends, parents, siblings, cable guy, meter reader and anyone else who is cornered and has no choice but to listen. It's something else entirely to paint a negative, biased and one-sided portrait of someone who is the mother or father of that child.

Indulging in the chance to get everything off your chest serves no purpose and will lead to unnecessary hurt feelings and confusion in the mind of your child.

And those bullets used in character assassination attempts more often than not have a nasty way of ricocheting. Great divides are born of this.

It may take months or even years, but eventually something more along the lines of the truth will eventually surface and, if you have depicted your former spouse in a particularly unflattering light, it's important to remember you might not look so glowing and pristine under that same harsh, flaw-revealing light.

Nothing about a divorce is easy. Hearts are bruised, and if kids are involved, the collateral damage can be devastating. While kids deserve an honest answer to the question of "what really happened?" the court proceedings are over.

Nothing is gained by making your child's other parent into someone whose faults and transgressions are so disreputable you might next be explaining what you were thinking to marry such a monster in the first place.

When the question of why the marriage broke up is posed, remember the very same thing probably will be asked of that person you used to be married to. Remember you are discussing a sensitive topic. Full disclosure may be required in a court deposition, but it's not essential OR appropriate when discussing the character of a child's mother or father.

When you sit down and answer your child's question, incorporate the Golden Rule and answer it in a way you hope your former spouse will, when his/her turn comes around.

Even if that other person takes the low road and gives an unfair, unflattering account of why things went wrong, stay on that high road.

The truth may seem like it's taking forever to come out, but it will arrive eventually and, just as we're reminded, the truth really will set you free.

Readers can e-mail Susie Parker at SusieWrites@ec.rr.com, write to her c/o Amarillo Globe-News, Features Dept., P.O. Box 2091, Amarillo, TX 79166 or visit her diary at www.susiewrites.blogspot.com.

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