This morning I headed out the front door with children in tow, on our way to our friends’ house around the corner. Our cell group was meeting at 9am to help them pack and box their belongings in preparation for moving out of their home for six months during a remodel. My job for the morning would be to entertain the brood of children attached to the different families, releasing as many adults as possible to help pack.
As we came down the front steps, I realized that the remains of a dead bird were sitting in the middle of our walkway. I had noticed a neighborhood cat staked out on our front steps for most of last night, so it wasn’t altogether surprising. However, I did have some concern over who the bird might be: our precious Sam spends day and night in her little nest on the front porch, and she would be easy pickings for any cat who made his way up there. I see the cats all the time on the neighbor’s roof hunting pigeons, so my heart sank as I considered the possibility.
I told Mercy that it was “yucky” and that we needed to not walk close to it, and she followed my lead, gazing intently at the mysterious thing that mommy was so adamant about not touching. Not to be too graphic, but I honestly thought she might not be able to tell what it was because of its condition.
As we came down the second set of front steps and rounded the corner to head down the driveway to get the stroller, I noticed a clump of what looked like nest in the middle of the sidewalk. There was a little catch in my throat as I realized that my earlier fears were now actually the likelihood of what had happened. I honestly did not think Mercy would even see the piece of nest–it didn’t really stand out so much from the other dirt and twigs and such that litter the sidewalk there.
We made it about half-way down the driveway when all of a sudden Mercy stopped, planted both feet firmly and looked up at me with big eyes: “Mommy, I want to see Sam.”
Her face registered fear and her eyes seemed almost wet. I knew then that she had recognized what was outside our front door, and I was guessing that she had also seen and recognized the pieces of nest. I looked at her, and suddenly I had tears in my eyes: “I want to see Sam too,” I told her. “Let’s get in the stroller and we’ll go look for Sam in her nest.”
I got the kids into the stroller, and we wheeled quickly down the driveway. This time Mercy pointed out the nest for me and I told her that I had seen it and that yes, it was a nest. “I want to see Sam.” was all she would say.
We got to the front of the house, and I stopped the stroller and put on the brake. I stepped up into our front yard, and stood where I had a direct view up to our porch. At first I looked and thought that all I could see were the bulbs of the porch lights dangling, and my heart sank. I kept looking to be sure, and then I saw it: there was Sam’s nest, clear as day! It had looked just like a bulb which is why I hadn’t seen it at first.
“There she is, Mercy!” I exclaimed, loud enough I’m sure for the neighbors to hear. “She’s up there. That’s not her nest.”
We looked at each other, and it was like looking into a mirror: my daughter’s heart and mine beating again, reassured. I almost cried with relief.
I called Doug a little bit later to tell him the story and I told him that, as if there were any question of this, Mercy is definitely my daughter.