But something happened recently that really forced me to laugh at myself, after I was done cringing.
I was out for a pleasant walk with my 2 kids when we heard a loud noise that seemed to be coming from the trees on our left hand side. “Listen to that strange noise,” I told the kids, “Have you ever heard a bird make a noise like that?!”
My 6 year-old daughter, Cora, loves birds, and she was immediately captivated by the funny sounds coming from the trees. “Baaaaa!” went the birds, sounding odd yet familiar.
“That sounds like a goat to me!” I exclaimed with glee, “Wow, I have never heard a bird sound like a goat before!”
Cora shared in my delight, and began mimicking the sounds, “Baaaaaaa!” she called up to the tall trees. And the goat-birds answered back, “Baaaaaaaa!” So Cora repeated the noises again, paused, and listened as the goat-birds seemed to be talking back to her.
Her 2 year-old brother decided to join in, and soon we were all “Baaaa-ing” in unison with the amusing birds.
“That was hilarious guys, but we need to get going.” I told the kids. So they reluctantly followed me down the street until we ran into some friends about a block later. Our neighbor, Sofia, and her 2 daughters greeted us.
“Guess what we just found?!” Cora could not contain her excitement for even a moment to say hello. “These birds that make this baaaaaa noise that we’ve never heard birds make before! Here, let me show you!”
“Cora, we really need to get going, “ I objected. But she was determined, so I agreed to let her escort our friends back to the goat-birds.
As we walked down the sidewalk and approached the trees, Sofia looked perplexed and asked, “Did you actually see these strange sounding birds?”
“No, I think they’re hidden in the trees because we didn’t get a look at them. “ I explained, as I began to feel kind of silly for not taking the time to look for the rare birds.
“Because…come look down here.” she continued as she walked behind the trees Cora had led them to, where there was a parking lot that sloped down to where there sat a small trailer. Inside the trailer, my eyes focused on….goats.
I could feel my face burning red, and my stomach knotting up with embarrassment. Why would I ever think there are strange invisible birds that make sounds like goats??? I silently shouted at myself.
After we arrived back home, I called Joy to tell her how mortified I felt about the whole situation. “I don’t know if this is even something I can attribute to my poor vision, “ I confided in her. “Of course kids would believe in an imaginary goat-bird, but what kind of an adult would have such a ridiculous thought?! Why didn’t I walk around the trees to find out where the noises were really coming from instead of letting my children believe that it was a strange new breed of birds?!”
She laughed and offered me the perspective I needed. “You know, it takes a lot of focus and energy to watch your children on a walk when you are not fully sighted. Keep that in mind before you judge yourself too harshly for acting silly. Your mind is often focused on safety and the task at hand, not on the details surrounding you.”
My bruised ego appreciated those words of encouragement, and I made the choice to find the humor and joy in this story rather than beating myself up for the idiocy.