The moment my body slid across the hard ground bulging with the tree’s exposed roots, I remembered I was pregnant. My hand reached down to cradle my sweet girl growing inside my now very bruised and contraction-riddled belly. I hopped up, adrenaline coursing through my body and my brain racing a mile a minute. All I could think about, the question recirculating in my mind, was what had I done to the baby?
The boys and I went into the house, along with Phoebe who had ventured outside when she heard the screaming and squawking. I took a shower secretly hoping this would calm down the growing irritability I could feel from my uterus as it protested indignantly against the assault it had just endured. Accepting the reality of the fall, I called the obstetrician and found myself quickly checking in to the Triage Maternity Unit at the local hospital. I was nervous with David out of the country, but relieved to have the help of my seventeen -year -old James with the littles ones.
David, along with my daughters, Grace and Lilly, made their nightly check-in call from Argentina. Any hopes of hiding that I was sitting in a hospital bed were thwarted by David hearing pages, buzzers and bells carried across the phone lines. I was sent home with orders to rest and wait for an appointment scheduled for Thursday. David was left to finish his work in Argentina and contemplate his revenge against the ducks.
The next day, as I sat on the sunroom couch and watched the boys play in the backyard, the ducks returned for round two. They chased Joshua and Caleb inside and staked their claim to the backyard, right in the spot of our crumb-riddled first battle. I called animal control and the nice man tried to no avail to catch the perpetrators. The next morning, as soon as the boys went out to play we had an exact repeat of the day before, right down to the failed attempt by the now frustrated animal control man.
David came home several hours later. After taking one look at my bruised body and hearing the children’s tales of how the ducks had seized our yard, he flew down the steps and out the door with the speed of Superman. To this day, because he was faster than a speeding bullet, I am still not sure how he accomplished in five minutes what no one else could – he had captured a duck. He had captured my foe with the recycling bin.
Animal Control was no longer messing around and sent four officers armed with dart sleeping guns to round up the rest of the posse. After a lot of drama involving neighbors, guns, ducks and cages, a plan was hatched. The captured duck was released to help lure his mates back to a humane trap. They were taken the next day to live at a children’s farm petting zoo in a neighboring city.
Weeks later a friend of mine asked Joshua, ” What did the duck do after your mom fell?”
I had never thought to ask and so I listened with great curiosity as he said, ” The duck stopped running, stared down at my mom for a few seconds and then turned and waddled away to join his friends eating the cake.”
Another friend said, ” I don’t know which I would have rather seen….you running from the duck or David running to catch the duck .”
A few years later with the story a distant memory we visited Bluebird Gap Farm for an afternoon tour and family picnic. We rambled along the path until we came to a section that housed different types of animals that live on the water. Slowly, our eyes met; within seconds, a recognition occurred between us both. There was no respect; there was only challenge. I stood confidently staring into the eyes of my white, feathery nemesis. I was confident with the fence between us, until he began to make a move for the dreaded crane position. Quickly, I began to contemplate whether this duck could fly. One look at sweet Lydia, no longer in my womb, healthy and joyfully ignorant of the stand-off occurring, and my decision was made. I tipped my head to my bird-brained friend and announced to the kids, “Why don’t we go eat our lunch at the park.”