It was nearly two months ago when we first saw the ducklings. Thirteen of them, huddled close to each other, a peeping blob of black fuzz, swimming just behind their mother. As we were pointing and quacking, counting and re-counting (because I couldn’t believe how many there were), another family happened along, stopping to marvel at the new brood. The other mother said something like “Don’t get too attached to all 13 of them….” Sure enough, we looked for them the next day, and the next, and for weeks afterward, but they were nowhere to be found. We saw the adult ducks, a female with one or two males, the two males on their own, but no ducklings. Eventually, I realized there were actually two females and three males, which at first made me hopeful the mother was hiding somewhere with her young, until I saw all five of them within a short stretch of the stream. The ducklings were all gone.
I wondered if the mother or any of the fathers felt a sense of grief. If they would mourn all summer or if there was enough time to try again before they would have to fly off in the fall.
I didn’t get the job I interviewed for. The executive director, one of the two women who interviewed me, called me herself two days later to say that, although my experience was a good fit and I had interviewed well, they went with someone who had more local knowledge. She recommended volunteering to get a better idea of the services in the area, which is a great idea, in theory, except that I can’t afford to put my child in daycare if I’m not getting paid. I have since applied at an educational staffing agency, hoping there might be some part-time opportunities starting this fall. I keep looking, keep trying, knowing it’s the only way we’ll be able to afford to travel to see our families as often as we’d like.
My anxiety about our upcoming FET #2 notwithstanding, the fact is we have three embryos just hanging out in suspended animation, waiting for us to decide what to do about them. They were created at the same time as the two-year-old snuggled next to me, and–whatever trepidation I may feel–we have to give at least one of them the chance to become a sibling for her. For us. For them.
And then, on Friday, we heard a familiar sound on our way home from the store. Peep peep. Peep peep. There they were. Two, then three fluffy ducklings. They swam so fast they practically skipped across the surface of the water, toward their mother, where their siblings were waiting for the stragglers to catch up. Eight of them all together.
I can’t help it. I took it as a good omen.