Julie ordered Patrick 30 little Americauna chicks. We hope that most of them will laying hens. They are the breed that lays green and blue eggs.
This morning bright and early we got the call from the post office. Cheeping noises in the background. Day before these little fluff balls were hatched out, placed in a cardboard box and flown to Virginia, dropped off and delivered to our little post office in Troutville.
Within a couple of minutes of that phone call, a neighbor called and informed me that our shearer contacted him and that Sunday, Mother's Day, is the day we will shear the sheep and his alpacas.
I make many plans and agendas, but seems like the animals tend to direct me just as much as I aspire to direct them. Off we flew, the girls and I, to pick up that noisy package. On the way home Blue Collar Joe's sucked us into their parking lot. Philip used to buy the kids doughnuts from that great local joint quite often. Quite often. I used to love doughnuts, but these days I love fitting into my clothes, and rarely eat sugar. With Philip gone, I am trying to allow some flexibility and a few treats since he was the one to keep things balanced. I love to tell people that legalism is very unattractive, in religion and nutrition.
So we got sucked in, I got the treats and everyone enjoyed. If you are going to get a doughnut, I must recommend Blue Collar Joe's. Local treats are good for local economy and good for children's spirits. We then situated the little birdies into a trough place in the dining room, set up the heat lamp, gave them whey for their first drink, and gave them locally grown, non-genetically modified baby chicken food. They are happy and content. Our lovely dining room has been home to many baby animals, from calves to kids and lambs and many baby chicks.
The kids worked in the garden for a good long while. Dairy shareholders and meat customers came by. We took care of business. Ate a delicious meal prepared by a church friend. It was a relief to have food at the ready. It left me the energy to read the last chapter of The Last Battle by CS Lewis. Maybe tomorrow I will share with you some of our favorite quotes. It was fantastic. And offered us a wonderful launch for a lengthy family conversation about heaven and God and Philip. Rose thought that Dad would tell us that everything in heaven is way different that the book makes it sound, and way better. Thomas commented on all the conversations he imagined his dad was having. I asked him if he had any thoughts on who those conversations might involve. He stated that there would be too many to begin to name, but that he figured Dad was probably talking to Martin Luther King for a very long time. Patrick wondered about the state of a place that exists outside of time as we know it. Nora and Maggie and I smiled as we imagined Philip running with no pain. We had a very pleasant discussion about the thought of us living in the Shadowlands, and how heaven will be the place where all things are REAL. No brokenness, no sadness, no exhaustion or meanness. We miss him, but wouldn't wish for him to have to return to a worn out heart or aching joints.
The magic of the moment lasted for a few minutes, but then it ended. We aren't in heaven yet. Chores had to be done and tired people got a little fussy. Even so, I feel good having had a nice sit at the table with the kids. I like them. I love the way they think. And I still have the magic of the many moments of seeing them work diligently in their little garden plots.
Little baby chicks, little baby calf, little baby plants weave together our very own story that might be the best grief therapy possible.