look really close. can you see what my kids call his "crazy hair" sticking out of his head? how cute is that?!? anyway, we spent the morning -- really, the whole morning -- watching the process of him bouncing around the yard, getting lost, cheeping for his mommy and daddy, them finding him, feeding him, and then starting all over again.
we talked about nests, hatchlings, fledglings, and all things science. it was a homeschool mom's dream. for most of the morning, i couldn't have pried the kids away from their new little friend if i tried.
and maybe, just maybe, they got a little help from a broom-wielding crazy lady who kept screaming, "go away, red bird! go away!!"
anyway, despite the onslaught, the little guy settled down and eventually started hopping around the yard again. we finally came inside for a bit but we kept a close eye on the back yard to make sure the bird's mommy and daddy were still taking good care of him. at one point, i started noticing that they had been gone for a really, really long time, so i headed back out to check on things. after a few minutes of searching, i found the tiny bird laying under a bush and his breathing was really fast and labored. his mouth was open, his eyes were closed.
i jumped on the phone and called my friend, angel, because i was sure she could tell me what to do. she reminded me about the wildlife rehabilitation center at oak mountain state park, so i gave them a ring and asked what i should do. they told me to go ahead and bring him in because it sounded like he might have been injured.
i raced around the house gathering up the needed equipment to transport a baby bird the size of a tangerine, all the while barking out orders related to tying shoes and visiting the potty. i wasn't really sure why i was panicking the way i was, but i felt an enormous urgency to get out the door. we live right across the street from the back entrance to oak mountain, so we booked it the few miles back to the center. when we got there, i threw the car into park, frantically unbuckled everyone from their car seats, threw izzy on one hip, the little bird's basket on the other hip, and we took off as fast as we could toward the door of the "ER". i peeked into the basket as we walked in, and my heart sank when i saw that the little guy was laying over on his side. and i couldn't see him breathing anymore.
we rang the bell to get someone to help us, and when the girl i had talked with earlier on the phone came out, my voice cracked as i said, "i don't think he's alive anymore." she took the baby bird in his basket back to another room, and we sat there and waited anxiously for several minutes. again, i thought, "seriously, allison? this is certainly sad, but your heart is racing. you're about to throw up. you have got to settle down."
finally, she came back out and said, "he's barely alive. i don't think he's going to make it." we filled out some paperwork and left.
on the way home, abby kept talking about how upset she was that the baby bird had died; then at one point she said, "i bet his mommy and daddy are going to be so, so sad." that's when i lost it. why, you ask, was this whole business about a little bird so upsetting to me? yes, i love a fluffy animal as much as the next girl, but i finally realized that it was about a lot more to me than just a bird.
yesterday i found out about a family here whose two-year-old daughter was killed in a terrible accident at her house this weekend, and my heart has been so heavy and burdened for those parents ever since. and just hours after i learned about their story, something eerily similar to the situation that ended their daughter's life happened to us.
and it involved two-year-old isabel.
the whole thing just makes me sick to my stomach, so i haven't talked much about it to anyone. but my mommy heart has been in serious overdrive ever since. last night i couldn't hold izzy close enough as i thanked the lord for her and prayed for his protection over her and our other children. and as hard as i was praying for izzy, i think i prayed even more fervently for that grieving family.
because i know that they're so, so sad.
i've been praying psalm 34:18 over them: "the lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit" as i've asked god to hold them up through their unimaginable pain.
this is one of those blog posts that probably sounds somewhat erratic and meaningless to those of you who are reading it, but i'm not writing this one for anybody else. i've learned a few things over the past couple of days, and i want to remember them whenever i look back on this little story.