Memoir Nonfiction

Gentle, Little Bird

Fragile, she lay in my arms, as my wife placed the medicine dropper to her mouth. Like nursing an injured little bird back to health, I thought. Against my chest, I could feel her compacted warmth against me. She wouldn’t take to my wife’s breast in the beginning, so this is how we fed her those first few weeks of life.

Her brother Henry, who would arrive two years later, was quite the contrast. I didn’t see his face until an hour and a half after he was born. Eyes closed, his face chubby, a grayish pink, he immediately navigated his way to, then buried his face in, my wife’s bosom. Annabelle, not so much.

Today my gentle, little bird turned six years old. It’s been a fun ride. Annabelle has taught me far more than I’ll likely ever teach her. She doesn’t know that yet, but one day she will.

That’s the thing about being a parent. There’s this belief that you, the adult, help guide the child through life, that you are the teacher; and while that’s true on many levels, it’s also quite the opposite. You become a student again, of life and love and imagination, among other things, and your child the teacher, guiding you through life.

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Photo: Paul Harbath. “Little Bird on a Wire.” Licensed under CC BY 2.0