There were two baby starlings with her. I say “baby,” but these birds were bigger than she was. I could tell they were babies because she was feeding them.
Even though they were perched right alongside her on the cat food bowl, they were not feeding themselves. They were just standing there, making an almighty squawking racket. And the mother bird would pick up a piece of food, turn to one child and place the food in its mouth. It would stop squawking long enough to swallow. By then, she had already turned to feed the other child.
I hear you, sister.
My son turned 11 last month, and on his birthday we marked how tall he was on the pantry door.
“Stand still … hold your head up straight. Hey, stop standing on your tiptoes.”
“I’m not standing on my tiptoes.”
“Yes you are, you have to be. You can’t be this tall.”
I checked. He wasn’t standing on his tiptoes.
He’s almost caught up to his big sister, who is 13. More importantly, he’s almost caught up to me.
I look at the pantry door and I can’t even remember when my children were that small.
Their years are marked off with Sharpies, my daughter’s growth charted in black, my son’s in red. My daughter has always been at the top, until this year.
You can buy those fancy growth charts now that look like giraffes or trees or giant rulers. I much prefer the old-fashioned method of using a ruler and a pencil to measure out the years on a permanent part of the house.
When we moved from our first house, one of the last things I did was copy over the growth chart from the pantry door.
One of the first things I did in the new house was copy it onto the new pantry door.
Seven years ago, I needed to install a wire shelf in the pantry. The only place it would fit was on the door with the growth chart.
So I had to move the chart again.
Three years ago, I had the kitchen repainted.
The painter almost obliterated four years’ of my children’s milestones before he realized what he was doing. He quickly wiped off the wet paint, then found me to ask if I wanted him to paint over the growth chart.
He told me the story of a time he was painting another kitchen, and he painted over another family’s growth chart on another kitchen door. “The lady of the house wanted to shoot me,” he said.
Of course she did.
He didn’t paint our kitchen door. Although he did leave some paint smears on my son’s 6th and 7th years.
I wonder if the man who bought our old house painted over his new pantry door.