This is the 24th of my “Advent Calendar” Christmas ornament posts. For some background information about this project and why I’m challenging myself to complete it, see here. Note: it’s entirely possible some of these memories are inexact, but I’m sticking with them anyway.
Ducks are sleek and stately birds until they pop their heads under the surface to look for bugs. That’s when they tip ass-over-teakettle and wave their ridiculous little tails at you. It’s impossible to take a duck completely seriously, and I think that’s probably the moral of my life story.
|How can you take this seriously? You just can’t.
Dave and I had one of those silly “OMG, no way” moments between us when we were first dating, when I discovered that his most beloved childhood toy was a stuffed Donald Duck. In what I thought was a world-stopping coincidence, “duck” had been my very first word, recorded for posterity in my baby book alongside a height and weight chart and a delicate curl from my first haircut. My grandmother, who lived next door to me when I was a baby, owned two geranium-filled plastic garden planters shaped like swans. Being a baby, I wasn’t familiar with the phenotypic variations between species of waterfowl, so I excitedly petted them and called them ducks.
Obviously, fate saw these two duck-admiring children and felt it right to bring them together. Luckily, we had more in common than an appreciation for aquatic birds, and we ended up married and living happily ever after, as you do.
In our home, the duck invasion has been a slow and insidious one. There’s the big canvas print of an irritated Donald Duck placed where it can welcome visitors to our home. There’s the brown ceramic duck-shaped dish I found for Dave to put his wedding ring in at night. There’s the plush robotic Easter Bunny Donald Duck my Grandmaman sent us – he waddles in a circle quacking Polly-Wally-Doodle until you pick him up by his ears and he hollers at you in a true Donald meltdown. There’s the duck-shaped teapot Mom gave us as a housewarming gift. There are the drawer pulls Dave chose for the dresser in our bedroom, with majestic mallards on them. There are the happy yellow bride-and-groom rubber duckies who sat atop our wedding cake.
I realize that we’re absolutely doomed once we have kids. It doesn’t matter if we want the nursery to be decorated with dinosaurs or teddy bears or classic 80s music videos. We’re going to get ducks. So many ducks.
But I’m okay with that. There’s an expression “Like a duck: calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.” Dave is the duck above the surface, calm and relaxed and with water flowing off his back like there’s nothing in the world that can bother him. Meanwhile, I’m paddling like mad and never feeling like I’m out of danger, never getting enough done. I think people who know us see instinctively that if you put the two of us together, you’ve got yourself a damn fine duck.