One of my most treasured possessions is my Bluebird of Happiness given to me by my mother in law as a wedding gift.
I detested this gift as soon as I opened it for two reasons. One, I don’t like knickknacks. Two, I hate birds. They’re dirty, they poop everywhere, and they have scary, beady eyes.
My first thought upon opening this was, Great, now I have to schlep this thing around with me for the next 50 years. Clutter is my enemy and I would need to trot this ugly bird out every time my mother in law visited. Awesome.
My dear mother in law (who is wonderful!) was so pleased to be presenting me with such an amazing, meaningful gift. She told me that this is something she regularly bestows upon newly wedded couples.
She went on to explain that the Bluebird of Happiness was a symbol of love and happiness. It was sort of a good luck charm that would bring my husband and I joy and gladness in our lives. Being a know-it-all youngster of 23, I thought this was all pretty hokey. Who the heck needs good luck in life? I make my own luck! The bird was made of glass, so I figured that maybe it would have an “accident” and break.
Eventually I forgot about the bird. Life moved on, the U.S. Army moved us five times, we had three of our four children and my mother in law quit asking where the bird was.
As I was unpacking our household goods in Virginia, I came across my bluebird. I held it up to the light and examined it for any chinks or damage. Surprisingly, there were none. Feeling a bit sentimental, I decided to display the bird in my new house. I had been pretty lucky…three healthy children, my husband came back from Desert Storm safely, life was pretty good. Maybe the bluebird was bringing me some luck. I wasn’t so cocky anymore.
My children, all under five, loved to tote the Bluebird of Happiness around every chance they got and dropped it just as frequently on our hard, tiled floors. Years passed and Bluebird survived our next moves to Kansas and New York, still with no damage.
At this point, I decided that it was time to stop taking chances with my “luck.” My husband and I now had four beautiful, intelligent daughters and he had survived four combat deployments. It was time for the Bluebird of Happiness to be moved to a place of safety and importance in our home where we could gaze upon its gleaming blueness and reflect upon our many blessings.
I still hate birds…except for my Bluebird of Happiness. This bird forever brings to mind images of toddlers clutching and dropping it, school aged girls wondering if the movers finally lost or broke the bird, and teenage girls laughing about how-the-heck that ugly bird is still around.
Just because I now love my Bluebird of Happiness doesn’t mean I believe in luck any more than I did when I was 23. I simply understand and treasure how blessed I am to be alive and to live a life surrounded by people I love and who love me back.
Guess what my girls will be receiving as a wedding gift?