Friday, May 4, 2012

Feeling Guilty About My Parrots

Writing as an indie author is hard work! For the last couple of weeks I have been busy with proofing and editing. If it is not that, I am writing and marketing, interviewing, get the picture. Before I know it, the day is over.

Then it is time for exercising, dinner, time with Dave, chores...and again you get the picture. Day over.  Time for bed.  The only problem is, I have 2 parrots that need attention. Two beautiful hookbills with the intelligence of a two year old human (Pionus) and 5 year old human (African Grey) who wait patiently, wondering when "Mommy" will give them some personal attention and love.

Oh, I clean up their cages every day.  They always have clean perches, new paper and clean dishes.  They are given fresh water three times and food twice a day.  They get out on their play gyms every day. 

The problem is, I don't spend personal love time with them like I used to. I don't know why the day goes by so much faster now.  Perhaps I am getting slower, I don't know. All I know is my heart breaks when I look at them and think "Another day that I did not hold you on my arm and tell you how beautiful you are, how I love you.  Another day closer to when you leave me and I will wish I would have felt the soft velvet of your feathers a few more times." 

I promise myself I will do better.  And then life happens. Would they be better off in another home?  I don't know. They certainly are part of our lives.  They sit on play gyms in the room where we usually are, or in cages with toys and DirecTV. Birds outside don't do much besides eat, sleep, preen, and escape danger.  So maybe they are fine.
Maybe if I found new homes for them it would break their hearts.  Kazoo (the Pionus parrot) has been with us twenty years.  He will be twenty-one in August.  I hand fed him as a baby. I am his world.  I am sure he wonders why he does not get as much attention as he used to, but how would he feel never seeing me again?

Melanie has been with us sixteen years. She will be seventeen in June. At only three and 1/2 months old, we were her fourth home! That was too young to have been moved from the breeders.  We worked with her and she healed from an illness (the first grey on record to do so)...and now talks like crazy. What would she think if we "got rid" of her? What would going to a fifth home do to her self esteem?  And, yes, parrots have self esteem.  Especially parrots with the intelligence of a five year old.

No, finding new homes is not the answer.  Perhaps I transfer my guilt into feelings they are not even feeling.  Perhaps they are just fine! I don' know.  I know they want attention and I know all too often I don't give it. An endless circle of guilt.  Yet, without them life would not be as wonderful.

And so, once again, I promise to do better.  Today I will take the time to sit outside with them for at least a half an hour.  Maybe a half an hour each individually and tell them each how fabulous, how beautiful, how precious they really are. Life with parrots is truly special.

Ah, little velvet man and African satin princess, how I love you.  I have failed many times to show it, but you are dreams come true. I wanted you since I was a child.  Please forgive me my lack of time. You are always in my heart and I will try,really try, to give you more of me. Being human, I will fail many times.  Please forgive me when I do. Please forgive me and remember that I love you. So much that at times it breaks my heart.


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