Friday, July 31, 2009

Bye Bye Birdie

Wednesday night began with an announcement in the backyard. "Guess what, guys?" I asked as cheerfully as possible. "Tonight, we are going to PAR-TY!"

Everyone was immediately suspicious. "Why?" asked All-a-Boy. "What for?" asked Cowgirl. "Do we get refreshments?" asked Princess.

"YES!" I answered enthusiastically. "We are going to have ICE CREAM! And COOKIES! But first someone has to guess which chore we are taking out of the job jar FOREVER!"

Hopeful guesses were immediately shouted out. Vacuuming? Dishes? Laundry? Bathrooms?

Shoe job? Trash job? Toy closet?

Keep guessing.

Dusting? Make beds? Clean Buddy's cage?
"That's it! We don't have to clean Buddy's cage anymore!" I told them. And then All-a-Boy, in true tease-cowgirl-who-loves-the-bird-most fashion, said, "And then Buddy will DIE!"

"Actually," I interrupted, "he already did."

(I told you I wasn't good at this kind of thing.)

Weeping and wailing and questions of unbelief began immediately and I explained how I had found Buddy and then buried him. But tonight were going to celebrate Buddy's life, not be sad about his death. Cowgirl took it the hardest, as was expected. All-a-Boy was quick to make up for his untimely teasing.
"Where did you bury him?" Cowgirl asked. It was the question that I dreaded most. Because honestly, it had taken everything in me to place Buddy's little birdie body in a paper bag. I did not want to deal with a backyard burial. So, I buried him in the only place I was capable of... (please do not think badly of me!) the trash can.

"He is buried somewhere in the yard," I answered (truthfully!) while passing out ice cream bars. And then the Buddy Celebration began.

We all took turns jumping on the trampoline and sharing our favorite memory of our little feathered friend.
Thumbelina recalled the time that our bathroom was flooding and All-a-Boy ran to Buddy's cage, opened it, then yelled, "Fly away, Buddy! Save yourself! Be free!"
All-a-Boy remembered when Buddy became a phantom bird and found his way into the crevice between the kitchen sink and the dishwasher.
Princess laughed as she talked about the time Buddy flew onto the tray of Baby O's highchair and O was excited for the company.
Cowgirl's favorite memory was of the day we got Buddy.
I don't think Hubba had a story, but I think he may have seen Buddy's ghost...

Afterward, we went inside for a movie night and slumber party.
The next morning I asked Cowgirl if she would like to clean the cage and sell it then use the proceeds to purchase a stuffed animal which lives online as well. She liked that idea.
We listed the cage for sale and Cowgirl had cash in hand by this afternoon.

We're going to buy her a Webkinz bird tomorrow.

(For those of you who marveled over my cruelty in burying the bird in the outside trash receptacle, hate me no more. Allen always had a soft spot in his heart for Buddy and wanted to give him a proper burial so I dug the bag out from under a few things and he will find a new resting place in our yard very soon.)


Anaise said...

Fabulous story--we read it with the kids gathered around. My newest 7 year old says, "All I have to say is that is really WEIRD." Scott and I laughed and laughed and laughed.

My heart goes out to your dear little Cowgirl who I hope finds other animals to love.

laura said...

I love that story. From the teasing to the consoling. I think you did a great job turning it into a party to celebrate Buddy's life. That picture of the hug melts my heart. You have adorable kids. Good luck with the burial.

(I would have thrown it in the garbage too!!)

Rebecca said...

We set our sick bird free in the woods near our house, before he even died. That's how well we handle death at our house. (Actually, it wasn't death that bothered me as much as the yucky germs of a sick bird. Sudden death would have been preferable.)

Sorry that's so sickening.

But anyhow, now you should get a DOG. I bet that's the shocking thought that Hubba is having on that trampoline! (LOVE that picture!)

Oh, I almost forgot...

simplysarah said...

Once I came home to learn that my mom had backed over our kitten and supposedly already buried her in the yard.

Now I wonder if she really just dumped the kitten in the trash???

To be honest, that's what I would do as an adult too.

rorymckm said...

you handled everything WAY better than i would have. i totally wouldn't have even tried if i could have avoided it. after making all of the phone calls telling everyone that our son died i don't think i could handle breaking bad news to anyone again. especially where kids are concerned. :) you did an amazing job of making it a beautiful event for them! ;)

Anonymous said...

Way to handle things. I know the kids will have a positive memory of this experience. I especially liked having cow girl clean the cage so their isn't a constant reminder. She will enjoy having a Webkinz bird. Kara

Gina said...

An otherwise sad story just turned terribly funny. I was waiting for my next call (you remember VRS, right?) and reading your post. I was right to the part where you excitedly tell them about NO MORE CAGE CLEANING! I bust up in laughter, of course, and a call comes in. I was about the happiest answering interpreter ever! Love your stories.

It seems you and your kids will make it through this after all. Ice cream never hurts. SMILE

Emily said...

Freak! That is the funniest thing ever! This odd approach could work when breaking bad news about anything sad. It is slightly twisted, but I think that is why I like it!!

Gerb said...

Anaise- We have a neighbor who offered to let the kids come walk his dog anytime they like. And that's the closest we'll come to getting a pet again!

Laura- I loved the hug, too - I was glad I was taking pictures and was able to capture that (rare!) moment.

Bec- Good point... maybe Hubba just saw a neighborhood dog. I shouldn't laugh, but that cracks me up every time it happens. (haha!)

Sarah- Don't ask her. It will just make her feel guilty and it won't bring the cat back. Besides, I'm sure she DID bury the cat... in the garbage.

Rory- I am so sorry you had to go through that. It wasn't any fun to have to tell my kids about the bird, but it wasn't even comparable to your loss. Thanks for reading (and commenting!). It has been fun to be in touch again.

Kara- So true! She was happy to find a red cardinal and name it Buddy. It is so much easier to deal with an online pet that a real one!

Gina- Cowgirl did ask if we could write the date down and celebrate to remember Buddy every year. Honestly, I'm hoping she forgets by next year. But, hey - any excuse for ice cream!

Gerb said...

Emily- I think we could be friends in real life since you enjoy my twisted ways. Plus, you used the word 'Freak', so you're obviously awesome.

Teachinfourth said...

Kudos to you, Gerb. Very well done in a morbidianly-twisted and touching way (odd that those two terms can be used together, isn't it?).

Glad it all worked out in the end.

Billings Family said...

You are the BEST MOM EVER!!! Yes, you should have 9 or even 20 kids! What a fun house to live in! You are awesome!