Roxie was a chicken. So were Bobbles and Pistachio.
And they lived at my house. Not out in the country, where chickens cluck and peck and roam free to do chicken-y type things, at MY HOUSE. My two-story 1970’s style middle suburbia house. With two dogs, a minivan in the driveway, and our family with 1.0 child.
A 1.0 child who had a dream to raise chickens. In the middle of a town of 165,000. Did I mention at MY HOUSE?? Oh yeah, I did.
Needless to say it was a shocker, but in reality not so much. Because she started young collecting worms (I had to stifle my “ewww’s”), bugs (more “ewww’s”), and later managed to talk us into owning guinea pigs (one HE ended up being a SHE, and another ONE unexpectedly became TWO). She also begged to have a gecko and to babysit the reptiles from the school science lab over the summer (sorry kid, reptiles are worse than “ewww” to me).
Ah, but chickens. What do you do when your 1.0 only child begs you to have chickens? And you live in a bizarre square block of town that is zoned “rural estate?” Where chickens are legal, even though the mall is two blocks away and there’s a 7-11 on the corner. And furthermore, your kid knows it’s legal because the neighbors across the street have chickens. AND she thinks they’re cute.
We said we’d think about it. That’s the parent way of saying “no,” when you don’t want to crush your kid’s heart so you pretend you’re going to talk about it later. A week went by and we blissfully thought the chicken dream was just going to fade away.
Yeah, right. The kid was quiet because she had hatched a plan (pun intended).
As we returned from an afternoon shopping trip she ambushed my husband and I at the door. In high-heeled black sandals, dressy black pants, and a long black jacket over a white shirt. Oh, and her hair in an up-do and make-up on. In her most professional business woman voice and posture she gestured to us to “please step into my office, I have something to show you.”
Oh man, why do kids have to be so darn cute? Even though she was sixteen, we couldn’t resist her charms any more than we could when she was two. She had us, and she knew it.
As we were ushered into “her” office (my husband’s) she sat us on the couch and graciously offered us the drinks and snacks she had made. My husband and I exchanged an eye rolling we-know-we-are-in-for-it now glance as she began her presentation—in Power Point. With animation. Pictures. Charts. Sound effects. Oh my!
It was an epic “I Have a Dream of Owning Chickens” presentation. She promised to feed, clean, care for, and otherwise be “mama” if only we would let her have three chickens. She said how great it would be to give her an opportunity to show how responsible she could be (music to a parent’s ears). She gave us all the research information and even a cost breakdown.
You guessed it, a few days later three fluffy gray chicks came to live in a cardboard box in our garage. She petted them, held them in her hands and nestled them in her lap. Sat for hours in the garage watching them before she could name them based on their personalities:
Roxie—the cuddly calm one who loved to be petted the most.
Bobbles—who kept falling asleep on top of the food dish in the middle of eating…and performed other silly antics.
Pistachio—nutty, more unpredictable, and always wanting to be noticed.
Our farm friends laughed at our “pet” city chickens who followed their “mama” wherever she went, and loved to sit in her lap and be petted long after they had moved into the coop and started doing stuff real chickens do.
Child 1.0’s dream had been realized. Things didn’t turn out exactly like the presentation promised, but living with chickens helped change my perspective about chickens.
And about going after your dreams.
You see, I came to like them. Even enjoy them. They did have personalities, and they were happy little chickens. Living in a happy place where they were well fed and cared for. Did I mention they would stay in the entryway in a dog crate on cold winter’s nights? Yup, very well cared for.
I never had a dream to own chickens. Never ever. But as a parent I held the power of the life and death of my daughter’s dream in my hands. I knew it and my husband knew it. “No” was our plan, and she knew that. She determined not to take “no” for an answer.
She believed she could convince us if she demonstrated that she was ready, able and committed to the chicken dream. (And she knew the Business garb-PowerPoint-Let Me Feed You marketing plan would work!)
Do I do the same with my dreams? Do I believe and demonstrate when I need to convince somebody that I’m ready, able and committed to my dream?
Epic dreams wither and die with the changing seasons of my life and I’ve wondered why. And now that I’m old(er) I’ve started to believe it’s too late anyway. I’m obsolete, out of date…too “retro,” like my 70’s house, to be relevant.
But God says to me, “it’s not over till it’s over.” And I think, “Well, yes Lord, I suppose I’m not dead yet!”
And God says, “Remember the chickens. They filled an empty joy spot you didn’t even know that you had.”
“Time to get yourself all dressed up girl, arm yourself with what you know is true, and don’t BE a chicken! Because there are empty joy spots in other people’s lives to be filled. And they don’t know they need chickens (meaning YOU) either.”
(Okay, I get the message Lord, just please help me find the right outfit of courage to wear!)
Let me tell you friend, owning chickens was an impossible dream. God-sized dreams always are. You have them and I have them, and too often we take “no” for an answer.
So here’s the deal. We need to encourage one another, and stop with the “I’m not good enough’s,” the “She’s better than me’s,” the “Why me’s?,” and the “Nobody will listen to me’s,” and just try. Try going after the dream until it happens.
I will if you will.
Yes, you can call me chicken! 🙂
Hey Jessie–this one’s for you! 🙂
And thanks kid 1.0, for the lesson in going after your dreams. You rock my world!
© Linda Crawford, Sunny Side Up (not scrambled), 2011. All rights reserved.