This was a hard week, and although we found ourselves thanking God for many things, a few of our "thanks" were also tinged with sadness.
First we got word that Grandpa, who is already struggling with Alzheimer's, had fallen.
It turned out he had a broken pelvic bone, which will need some care, but we were very thankful it was not the broken hip the doctor thought it might be - as that would have called for surgery, and a more difficult recovery.
While we were still processing the news about Grandpa, the nest outside of D's window was attacked by crows, and the baby bird...
...was killed. It was a contingency we had tried to prepare the children for, but the attack itself was so sudden and violent, it threw us all for a bit of loop. I was thankful it was me, and not the children, who interrupted the attack. I was taking out the garbage when I spotted the five crows. They already had the baby on the ground, it was clearly dead, but the mourning doves were still fighting valiantly to save it.
I screamed at the crows, causing them to retreat momentarily to the neighbor's roof. Then, I ran back inside to call the Man of the House for advice. After calming down just a little, and checking to make sure that D's curtains were still closed, I pulled T (my oldest) aside, and explained what was happening. He distracted the younger children for me, while I rushed back outside with a shovel, and garbage bag to remove the poor little bird from the crows' clutches.
I'm sure it was quite a sight for the neighbors, me in the middle of the street, slamming the shovel on the ground and yelling "bad crows!", as I scooped up the tiny remains, and attempted to sweep away the tell-tale feathers from the yard, keeping a wary eye on the crows (they are quite large), and the poor mourning doves (did they know I was on their side?).
When the mess was cleaned up, and the crows chased away, and I had a grip on my own emotions (somewhere my Missouri dust bowl farming/Tennessee pioneering/New World colonizing/westward advancing fore-bearers were not being made proud), I had to break the news to a very distraught D.
We were thankful though, to see both mourning dove parents had survived the attack.
They spent most of the morning near the house, returning briefly to the empty nest..
...which now holds only a feather, and an unhatched egg.
A week earlier, the unhatched egg would have seemed like a tragedy, but now we can see it was really a blessing. This nest was not in a safe spot, and had the egg hatched, the hatchling would most likely have met the same fate as its sibling. So, we were thankful it didn't hatch.
We're missing the soft cooing of the doves' comings and goings. As much as we would love to have the sweet, gentle birds as neighbors again, and as thankful as we have been to see them still around the neighborhood, we are also thankful they don't seem to be showing any signs of reusing the old nest for their next brood. We are hoping they will find a safer spot.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. Matthew 10:29 ESV