February 25, 2007 archive

“I Was Hatched”

This morning, like every morning, I popped over to my blog lines and started catching up on my favorite blogs. Rocks in My Dryer wrote a wonderful entry about C.S. Lewis quotations. And one of them resonated with me:

-It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: It would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. – C.S. Lewis –

Fathers seem to hold a special place in the hearts of their daughters, and my father is no exception. As a child, I believed everything he told me. I liked to follow him around while he worked in the yard, or built things in his workshop, or shaved in the mornings (I remember being scolded once for lathering up my face and using my father’s razor to “shave” just like him). So, when my father told me one day that I was special and had, in fact, been hatched like a chicken (and not born like other children), I took this to heart. I didn’t notice the twinkle in his blue eyes or the smile he gave my mother.

A few months passed, and I started first grade. Finally, I could join my sisters at the “big” school. No more kindergarten for me! On the first day of class, the teacher went around the room and asked us to share our names and our birthdays with the rest of the class. My last name began with a “W” so it took awhile to get to me. I listened as the other children recited their information: “My name is Robert and I was born on December 1st.” “My name is Mary and I was born in March.”

Then it was my turn. I smiled at my classmates and said, “My name is Wendy. But I wasn’t born, I was hatched.”

There was an awkward silence; some of the other children giggled behind their hands. My teacher laughed.

“All children are born, Wendy. Please tell us your birthday.”

I frowned, shook my head. “No, I was hatched. My father told me.”

No matter how much the teacher tried to reason with  me, I never wavered. If my father said it, it must be so.

Eventually, I learned that just like everyone else, I was born;  I did not hatch from a chicken egg. And I have never lived this down. One birthday my mother gave me a beautiful sterling silver egg on a chain, which opened to reveal a chicken. To this day, it is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry.

Today, reading C.S. Lewis’ wonderful words, I thought about how special I felt that day in kindergarten; how I was different because I’d been hatched. In many ways, I’ve carried that with me all these years … leave behind the ordinary and strive for the original; open your wings and fly; don’t stay inside your shell, venture out into the world. I think my dad got it just right.

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