Every day for many months a duck, I named Libbie, sits near the pool most of the day. Around 3-5pm “Freddie” appears and they usually swim a bit. Sometimes they come to the glass door and peck their beak which is funny because they seem to know me and I say “Hi”. Last week it was lightly raining and when I peered outside I could not believe my eyes! Libbie was swimming in the pool with fluffy baby duckies! I grabbed my phone to videotape this miracle to show my kids later.
When I came back out to throw out the trash it began suddenly pouring. I went to the pool and could not believe my eyes! The nine baby ducklings were trying to get out and were stuck. I immediately took my light jacket off, socks and shoes and was a Moment from jumping in when Riley appeared. Riley is my teenage son and he is fiercely protective. He said there was no way he would let me go in the freezing-non-heated pool and we argued for a Moment. I said I would not let the babies drown and he immediately stripped down to his boxer shorts.
Truth be told we were arguing about driving and I was keeping my distance. Every time we tried to get the ducks they would shriek and swim away. The mama duck was going crazy flying over us then going behind our iron fence. I turned to Libbie and said, “I will do my very best to save your babies, please stay calm,” and miraculously, she did! We tried desperately to use the fun noodles and boogie boards to lead the babies out but to no avail. Riley had an idea and ran into the dark and cobwebbed storage room. He found a large blue plastic bin, emptied the toys, now some five years old. He yelled to get food. I grabbed bread and crackers and attempted to make a food trail out, which did not work. Next, as Riley went into the pool he was able to scoop one duckling out. I took a soup ladle and carefully placed the baby on the pebbles. It was shivering and I ran inside as per my son’s orders and got every kitchen towel. I made a towel nest so they would hopefully warm up. As each baby was brought by my son to me I made sure not to touch it. I took a chance and laid down and blew hot air onto their shaking bodies. I told Riley to hurry or I feared they would die as it was cold, wet and they were so small. He ran in and out, back and forth with the heavy toy container and after 90 minutes, eight babies were on the pebbles – in their towel nest, me desperately breathing warm air into their little faces and bodies.
I could not find the ninth baby and searched everywhere for it. Riley and I went in the kitchen as the mother duck would not go near her babies with us outside. Miraculously, the eight fledglings began to drunkenly climb out of the towel nest and towards their mama. They followed her single file and out the side gate. Riley and I went out the front door, he in towels, me drenched in yoga pants and T-shirt. As they approached the curb I held my breath, two could not get up the curb so I ran, grabbed a jacket to lift them and off they waddled toward the bushes.
Riley commented, “See mama, this brought us together when we were arguing over driving,” indeed it did. I sent him upstairs to shower and I quietly went back to the pool looking again for the ninth duck. I thought I saw the duck and I took a breath and went into the pool. Sadly, it was a big leaf. I checked the drains and simply could not find the baby duck. I truly was heartbroken and chilled to the bone as well. I went upstairs, took a hot shower and cried.
I was grateful to have been there to help, yet, emotional for the loss of duckling number nine. What also hit home for me was how kindness in the home is a learned and observed behavior. My son, who was so annoyed with me over his driving, raced instantly to my side to help the ducks.
I am so deeply blessed to have a kind and loving son. – from the book “Kindness on a Budget” by Suzie Abels