Birds of Pray

As I prepare to get all up into this post, I’m going to infect each of you with the ear worm that has plagued me since I started thinking about this topic.  Ready?  Here you go:

Hate me yet?  Just keep singing it.  It will eventually stop playing on a loop in your brain.  I promise.


I’ve never been one to believe in signs. No, no, I don’t mean STOP signs, or traffic signs, or “Do Not Harass The Alligators” signs. Those signs I believe in, fools!!  I’m talking about the kind of signs that are supposed to be prophetic in some way or form. A few months ago, if you’d asked me if I believed in signs, I’d probably have told you that I’d give more credence to my lucky numbers on the slip of paper inside a stale fortune cookie.

That was until a few weeks before Babyman was born.

I was talking with my neighbor in my backyard and she asked about what was happening with our adoption.  Since we’d decided not to tell anyone about our adoption match, I lied and told her that nothing was going on.  She said that I just needed to have faith– a comment that made me internally roll my eyes, since my faith in just about anything had been reduced to scraps years before. She told me that I needed to watch for the signs that something good was coming.  It took every bit of restraint I had to not look at her like she was a lunatic. I sucked up all the sarcasm that was about to come flying out of my pie hole and just nodded and said, “Ok. Sure. I will.”  Then I went on my way.

Ok, this next bit may seem like a non-sequitur, but just go with it.  It’ll come back back around to the point about the signs, I swear.

Last month was the second anniversary of the passing of my mother-in-law.  All good mother-in-law jokes aside, I’ll tell you that I miss her every day, and she is the one nagging regret that I cannot shake as I celebrate being a mother.  I would have loved for nothing more than to have been able to give her the gift of being a grandmother before her time with us was over.  It is truly a small crack in my heart that I cannot fill.  I know that she would have delighted in being a grandmother.  She would have snatched our babyman right up and buried him in her rosewater perfumed bosom, just like she did with every other baby she encountered. And like every other baby she snuggled, he would have been fast asleep in 10.2 seconds, little arms and legs just dangling, and she would have just smiled proudly as he lay there draped across her chest.  Our little babyman — him finding us and completing our  family, particularly at such a critical juncture when we were so close to throwing in the towel… Well, I’ve come to believe deep in my soul that somehow my dearly departed mother-in-law had something to do with it all.  That might sound crazy, but it makes my heart happy to believe it, and gives me some peace.

You might now be saying to yourselves, “Well, that kind of sounds like the faith she claimed not to have.”  And you’d be right, but that’s not always what I believed or felt or had faith in…

And I probably still wouldn’t…if it weren’t for the signs.

I’ve lived in my house for just shy of a decade. After we’d moved in, someone had given us a hummingbird feeder as a housewarming gift.  I’d happily dangled it out back on the patio and filled it with the Hawaiian Punch looking nectar they are supposed to love so much. And then I waited. You know how many hummingbirds we attracted??  None.  Zip…Zero…Nada.  I think the feeder ended up falling down at some point and breaking, leaving sticky nectar and a drunken feast for a colony of ants! It was as if the bird nazi had said, “NO HUMMINGBIRDS FOR YOU!” We were officially a no-hummingbird-fly zone!

Shortly after my mother-in-law died in 2012, I distinctly recall being in the kitchen one afternoon still feeling bereft and wiped out from how emotional her last few months had been. I was preparing something on the counter (I don’t remember what, but for humor’s sake, let’s say it was a pitcher of Hawaiian Punch). I looked up and there was a hummingbird just outside the window where I stood.  The window was open, so I could hear it humming on the other side of the screen.  It floated for a moment, staring at me, and me at it.  They really are delicate and interesting little birds if you can see one up close.  It was a fleeting moment and as quickly as it appeared, it vanished. I was so excited by the encounter, I remember thinking, “Oh wow!  Maybe we should get another hummingbird feeder.”

We never did and I never saw another hummingbird after that.


1024px-Archilochus-alexandri-002-editIt was a couple of mornings after my neighbor had encouraged me to watch for the signs about our adoption. “They’re there,” she said. “You just have to be open to them.”  I was sitting on our back porch in the morning before work, drinking a cup of coffee, already stressing out about all the “what ifs” that could happen with our impending adoption. Something buzzed past my ear.  I startled.  At first I thought it was a bumble bee that had come very close to my head because it was so loud that I could feel it. It took a split second for it to register in my brain that even after it had gone past me, I could still hear and feel whatever the buzzing noise was.  I looked up and no more than arm’s length from my face was a hummingbird!!  It just hovered there– staring at me.  It’s invisible wings…humming!  I was as still as I could be, paralyzed really, for about 10-15 seconds until he zoomed off out of sight.  I was dumbfounded.  I sat there, silently surprised and giddy about the encounter and then…I recalled the day in the kitchen.  That recollection made the early morning coffee encounter with the hummingbird seem even more peculiar to me.  I could hear the voice of my neighbor echoing in my head about watching for the signs, so I went and Googled the following:

what do hummingbirds symbolize?

I was in disbelief as I read the information on one of the first sites that popped up.  Turns out, hummingbirds are not only a symbol of resurrection, but they also represent overcoming great obstacles, persistence, healing, honoring the past, experiencing joy, flexibility and “lifting up negativity whenever it creeps in.”

Well, I’ll be damned!

From that point, I looked for hummingbirds everywhere, but there were none to be found.  Obviously, things have worked out well in our adoption.  Were those hummingbirds really a sign, or just a coincidence?  People of logic will say, “Duh, you schmaltzy kook.  It’s just a coincidence.” And the part of me that doesn’t want to look like she goes and gets her palm read by a $5.00 storefront psychic, would want to agree.

But wait, there’s more…

This past weekend, our adoption home study provider came over to do a post-placement home visit with us. There’s a laundry list of questions he’s required to ask us at each visit.  One of the questions is…”How are your family and friends adjusting to you having a child?”  It’s such a ridiculous question that it almost doesn’t seem worthy of a response.  But since we must…

I told him about how the night before we’d been to the wedding of some of our dearest friends and how overwhelmed we both were with all the love and warmth that was shared with our new family.  Then, through building tears, I told him how I now believe that our little boy will never want for love or friendship.  Then the topic turned to our family and Frank mentioned how much his dad loves the baby and can’t get enough of him (he’s a wonderful Opa). We both said that we think a lot of that is because of Frank’s mom and how we all feel her absence and know how much she would have loved every minute of her grandson…so now, no one is taking anything for granted and we’re all loving him just a little bit more because of it… for her.

And I shit you not… right then, a hummingbird flew right up to the window in plain view.  Hummed and hovered and peeked in the window of our living room, just long enough for us all to catch a glimpse, and then… poof! Gone.

So go ahead.  Ask me if I believe in signs.  Hell yeah, I do!  Because anything in my yard that would attract a hummingbird is long gone dead and shriveled since I’ve done NO gardening this summer, and there’s definitely no Hawaiian Punch to be found.  I think, as it turns out, those Ace of Base Swedes just really knew what they were singing about!!

Believe it!


6 thoughts on “Birds of Pray

    1. Thanks…I know I’m biased, but I kind of love it, too. I always wanted Ruth’s grandma name to be “Ootie.” She once told me that’s how little kids she would babysit as a young girl would say her name. From now on, any hummingbird in my yard is going to be named Ootie! 🙂

  1. I definitely believe you, when I was recovering from another unsuccessful infertility surgery I looked out the hospital window and saw a double rainbow. I was sure it was a sign of babies to be born to me but it was a promise from God that I would be a mother. And through adoption, I am the mother of two, now 22 and 19 year old miracles!

    1. Hi Janet,

      Thank you for your comment. Such a wonderful ending to your story… times two!!! I’ve come from such a dark place of doubt, into a world that is so bright. It’s so wonderful to feel so restored, and now more open than ever to whatever signs the universe is trying give to me!

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