The Dead Bird
In 1938, Margaret Wise Brown, (author of Goodnight Moon, and other children's classics) wrote a book titled, The Dead Bird, I happen to have a copy of it. You can tell it isn't a children's book written in the last decade...mostly because it is a picture book about a dead bird! It is probably for kids in their preschool or kindergarten years and did I mention the whole book is about a DEAD BIRD! Anyway, these kids find a dead bird and feel sad for the bird. So they take the bird, picking it up with their BARE HANDS, (like THAT would make it in today's hyper-germ-a-phobic world!) and they bury it in the forest, planting flowers at the site and leaving a little headstone. They then sing a song to the dead bird ("oh bird you're dead, you'll never fly again...") and go home. Everyday they come back to the burial site and sing and play around it and it's all peace, love and joy until one day, they forget about it. The End.
So, yesterday, the kids (looking more like grim reapers with hooded towels on each of their heads and sticks in their hands) come running inside to tell me that a bunny died in our yard. This is one of those moments in parenting that pretty much takes priority over everything else. (That list looks something like: blood, broken bones, and dead bunnies.) We walk outside to the crime scene and sure enough, there is a plump, squishy, brown, dead rabbit. Couldn't have been dead for more than a couple of hours. No sign of blood but definitely some foul play as there was fur scattered all about. (Phew..it didn't die from the weed killer. I can sleep guilt-free...) The kids, having ENJOYED the book about the DEAD BIRD! want to bury it. I think, well, there are 3 options here:
1. We could bury it (which, unlike the DEAD BIRD book with pretty flowers, song and dance, conjures up images of 3 curious kids, plastic sandbox shovels in hand, digging up a dead rabbit...not too unlike the time my brother's hamster died and about a month later he decided to dig it up and along comes his little sister, right in time to make that final dig, with her BARE HANDS. Ever felt a decaying hamster body? 'Nuff said.) or
2. we could throw it over the fence, down the side of the hill (which could attract the vultures but that would probably happen anyway) or
3. we could put it in a bag and throw it in the trash...
So I chose option 4: Call my wonderful, 68 year old neighbor next door who immediately came over, picked up the freshly dead rabbit in his shovel and took it to bury in his yard, where I imagine he planted flowers, placed a headstone and while dancing around it, sang a song of sadness ("oh rabbit, you are dead, you will never hop again, la la la...")
As the kids and I walked back inside I suggested we say a little prayer, asking God to take the bunny to heaven where he can rest in peace. Aidan replied with utmost certainty, "We don't have to do that mom; the bunny is already in heaven."
"He is?" I asked.
"Yeah, God took care of it right away." And off he danced, to forget about it. The End.