Who knew a chicken could bring a family closer together? It all happened last November. Peter was out checking on his wandering hens. Urgently, he comes to the door in tears. “Fatty died.” You see, Fatty was not just any chicken (many had gone before her with no tears), Fatty was his favorite chicken. She had a unique crop problem. She made a different noise and was always quite “chatty.” At lunch we would often hear about Fatty’s latest news and what she said about Pecky, Farty, Bossy, Stupid and Baby. Peter made sure she didn’t go to the compost pile, this special hen now has her own place in the yard with a special rock that Peter saved especially for Fatty.
It was heart wrenching to see him so sad. I’m sure it was extra difficult for him because he watched her die. For me, the whole experience drew me closer to Peter. I realize how deep this little boy runs. He’s not a thoughtless, careless boy just going about his days. He has real feeling, real emotion. My other boys wear their emotions on their sleeves, they are lovey and gentle. I had been finding it hard to relate to Peter because I was beginning to think he was hard and didn’t want me close. Maybe that’s just part of a boy growing up and pushing his mother away. Maybe he’s just been stressed out with having imperfect parents that expect a lot from him.
Fatty, in her death has brought us closer. We were able to comfort Peter, reminisce about the great times we’ve had with Fatty (like the times she wobbled up to us as we did schoolwork outside), we were able to gently push into his world. He has been more open and affectionate since this happened. He’s even been more considerate with his words. We all have (children live what they learn).
I likely won’t forget the funeral we had for Fatty. Here are the words from Peter’s writing assignment that week:
“I liked fatty. She was a good chicken. she talked pretty funny, was my favorite ckicken. I liked watching her. Now she is gone.”