"Why do you have a Felix?"
That was the first time I ever received a question about why and my parrots. This sweet intrepid little girl of maybe 9 years of age, had a simple question. We met at Parrot Appreciation Day last year. Felix was there and so was Snickers. Felix was handing out beaked and signed photos for donations to parrot rescues and I was enjoying conversations about every bird that was brought to me for a scritch.
And then Abigail walked right up, looked over at Felix and asked me without a glance, Why do you have a Felix?
And for just a moment I was stumped. Me, Kathy, Chatty Kathy was without words with a mind scrambling for an answer to my grand inquisitor. WHY? Why did she ask that? Does Felix look unhappy? Am I wrong here? What is going on? Parrot moms tend toward paranoia.
I smiled and asked her name. Abigail, she said.
Abigail, I began, I have a Felix because I wanted a friend who will share life with me. I wanted a friend who is smarter than me, so I could become smarter. I wanted a friend who I can care for and be cared for in return. Abigail, I wanted a friend who would help me be a better me. That's why I have a Felix.
Abigail smiled all the while looking at Felix, she never looked at me once until I finished.
That's a good answer. She said, and took her mom's hand and walked away.
We have 8 parrots in our home. Eight friends that open new ideas, considerations and startling clarity every day around here. I have a reason for every single one of our flock, and not one reason is the same, but they all end with Abigail's answer.
Felix does enlighten me. He does. Butters slows me down and reminds me there is nothing bigger or better than a purring parrot resting their head on your shoulder. Snickers reminds me to keep an active eye open at all times. He, is after all, a male scarlet macaw. Kirby helps me laugh, loud and long. Kirby is my clown and counselor. He reminds me life is short and I'm taking myself WAY too seriously. Indian Ringnecks are good for that. Stella and Winston, our bonded cockatiels, show beauty in flight and song and surprise me with little cockatiel feet on my head out of no where. Quiet trust, is their gift. Bunny and Louie are their babies. I never tried to tame them or make them like me, I just let Stella and Winston have a family and watched the full life cycle play out with great joy. I always offer kind whispers and slow gestures of love. Bunny and Louie now visit me at dusk for 10 minutes of face kisses from my shoulders. I did not train this, they chose to give this gift to me.
Why do I have a Felix? Because to not, is unthinkable.