One of the great things about being a father (for me) is that there are certain times when life removes all ability to be cynical. Something will happen with one of the kids when you just have a moment of clarity in how much you love them, and how special everything is.
One of these things happened recently. It started last night as I was about to let the dogs out before we went to bed. As I was bending down, I saw some kind of commotion out of the corner of my eye. I closed the door around me, to make sure the dogs didn't run out.
It took me a moment to realize what I was seeing. At first, I saw a mother skunk and several baby skunks. Then I saw a duck flapping and squawking at them. I closed the sliding door, and called A over to see. My first concern was that there probably isn't enough tomato juice in close proximity if I got sprayed, so I just wanted to play it safe.
Within a few minutes, the skunks had made their way past the duck, and went directly toward our patio. Luckily for us, our dogs are old and apparently nearing blindness becuase they didn't see the skunks.
They walked through our fence, past the neighbors. We went out to watch them, and tracked them through 3 more yards, and under a neighbor's deck. Near the end of their trek, one baby got separated from the pack. By this time, our neighbor, Pizza guy, and his two kids were out watching the action too. I convinced everyone that we should leave so the mother would come back for the baby. I called my neighbor, Doc, and let him know about the skunks, since he knew the neigbor. I didn't think much of it after that.
When I got home tonight, A, two neigbor women, and a bunch of kids were hovered around where we saw the duck fighting the skunks. Apparently, the mother was protecting her lost ducklings, who had fallen down drainage grate. They had gotten 8 of the ducklings out, and reunited them with their mother. The kids could scarcely contain themselves. But one was too scared or slow to catch up.
So we put him in this box:
9 Little Ducks; 6 Little Skunks
After dinner, we took the kids, along with the neighbor and her daughter to set out and find the proud parents. My oldest boy, C, held hands with the neighbor girl as we went to the little pond on the other side of the subdivision.
We ended up walking around almost the entire pond before seeing the mother duck hiding out in the cattails. She got scared, and started to swim away, but it was a perfect hiding place for a nest. As my neighbor walked in towards the pond, all the ducklings flopped and paddled themselves away from her. She set the last little duckling down, and it soon paddled it's way back to it's brothers and sisters.
C loved the walk and getting to see the baby duck. It was just one of those situations where you could see the pure excitement and joy in his face when the little duckling swam away and he realized he was going to be with his mommy again.