Sunday, July 17, 2011

Aspirations

All ladies have great aspirations.  Some ladies want to go into politics, some into the corporate world.  Some aspire to be great artists, or writers, or firefighters.  Some ladies aspire to be mamas.

That's our Annabelle.  She is two and a half years old, and has gone "broody" three times.  She sits and sits and sits on a nest, often only rising once a day to eat and drink.  I've had to gently (and often, not so gently) persuade her back into egg laying.  After all, I have backyard chickens for eggs!  This past time she decided to take a break from laying and start sitting, I tried to nudge her off the nest several times a day, but she was persistent.  More persistent than me.  So I caved.  I let her sit on unfertilized eggs for three weeks, then I went and bought her some babies to care for.

I was a little nervous because these guys are several days old, even though they are just so tiny.  I was afraid Annabelle wouldn't accept them.  Afraid they wouldn't identify her as mama.  Afraid I would end up hand raising chicks again.  And as I've said before, hand raising chicks is fun, in a taking 10 ten year olds to an amusement park kind of way.  It was fun once, but I'll never do it again.

Last night I went and picked up our little babies - three white crested black Polish chicks.  I set the box close to Annabelle and let them peep peep peep for a few hours, then made the switch.  I pulled the eggs out from under her, and replaced them with chicks.  All while holding my baby on my hip.  I left them alone overnight to snuggle and sleep, and hopefully bond.

This morning, I went out to check on them, and found a mama with three little heads poking out from under her.  When she moved enough to let them get up and stretch their legs, she looked at them as if to say, "Ah, babies, I knew if I waited long enough, you would come."  And they looked at her as if to say, "Oh!  We know you!  You're what we've been waiting for since we hatched - a mama."  Then she started chirruping, and they peep peep peeped their way back under her breast.

The whole scene was quite sweet, especially since I could identify so strongly with the hen.  Like Annabelle, I waited a while to be a mama.  And like her, I felt the exact same way the first time I felt my baby move under my hands, the first time I smelled his sweet smell, the first time I held him to my breast.  And the first time he gazed into my eyes, it was like he was saying, "Oh!  I know you.  You're my mama.  I've been waiting to meet you."

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