Pay no attention to what’s underneath the bed

This was our third summer renting the same beach house for our family vacation. So when we were moving into the house last Saturday, I wasn’t expecting any surprises.

I headed into the bedroom John and I would be sharing and looked at the beds. If I moved them just a little, I thought there might be room for Daniel to sleep on a mattress on the floor.
While our boys and four of their cousins laughed and played nearby, I shifted one of the beds slightly and glanced down at the floor underneath it.
Was that a…bird?
Oh, dear. And it was dead.
I pushed the bed back in a hurry before the 3-year-old bird lover in our family saw what I had just seen, and I went to find my husband.

“I think there’s a dead bird under the bed in our room,” I whispered frantically.
“Are you sure?” John asked, hoping, of course, that I would say, “You’re right. It’s probably just a pile of dust.”
But I didn’t. He told me to get the six children out of the way and he went to take care of it.
I don’t know how other married couples divide the responsibilities. I am in charge of the cooking, the chauffeuring, the blogging, and the adoption paperwork (when necessary). John handles the laundry, the packing, the lawn care, the finances, and everything else—including, in this case, the disposal of dead animals. And he did a magnificent job.
Afterward John told me it was a blue jay. He thinks the previous tenant must have had a cat who caught the bird and left it under the bed. John assures me that birds don’t sneak into houses and go under beds to die.
Anyway, there was no way I would put Daniel on the floor in there after discovering the bird. So we made room for him in another room where he could sleep with his brother and cousins. Some nights we struggled to get him to sleep, but I just couldn’t put him on the floor where I had seen that bird.
And then I had a horrible thought. Daniel’s current goal is to catch a bird.

What if I hadn’t found the bird and Daniel had been sleeping on the floor that first night?
And, what if I had woken up in the middle of the night to find Daniel proudly holding the bird?
I have no idea how I would have handled that. But I do know that Daniel would have spent more time in the bathtub that night than he spent jumping ocean waves last week.
Despite that beginning to our vacation, we had a fantastic time at the beach, and I will be sharing more stories next week now that we are home. I hope you’ll share some of your vacation stories here, as well.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.