Last week we finally spotted the ducklings. There were two sets - one of five and one of six.
Today, after dropping my kids off at school, I spotted one of the mother ducks. She only had two ducklings swimming with her.
I know that the life of a duckling is rather fragile. There are muskrats down by the creek, that probably consider a duckling a fine dinner treat. Perhaps, the other ducklings had just gotten momentarily separated from their mother and so I didn't see them. But, honestly, usually when you see the mother duck the babies are pretty close at hand.
Not that long ago in this country - and even today in many parts of the world - childhood was a time fraught with danger. It wasn't at all unusual for a woman to have 10 children but to only see two or three of them grow to adulthood.
Today we (at least in most parts of the modern world) are pretty lucky. When we have a child we can expect to see that child grow up. Naturally sometimes horrible things happen and that isn't the case - but the point is that those are more aberrations than the norm - and we really do plan to be able to see our children graduate school - where once mothers wondered if the child would celebrate a sixth birthday.
The mother duck had five or six ducklings. Now she has two. My heart breaks for her. But maybe ducks understand how fleeting their existence is and she's happy to still have those two.
Can we remember to be happy about what we have, and not worry about what we no longer have? Sometimes.