Birding Brings Joy Amidst Pain for My Black Family

Every day brings a struggle to preserve the light in my children’s eyes from a growing awareness that dims it

3 young Black children seen from behind, looking out the window at grass and a road.
Photo: Dara T. Mathis

My own emotions dart away before I can identify them by name, much like the brown birds hovering near my window. So I reach instead for joy.

On a family walk down the street one afternoon, my four-year-old chose a name for the woodpecker: Widdle. No matter how the day’s news leaves me downcast, I can’t keep a straight face saying ‘Widdle Woodpecker.’

When my daughters ask what kind of world will welcome us when it is finally safe to play in it again, I tell the truth. ‘I don’t know,’ I say.

Dara T. Mathis is a parenting writer who is interested in the intersection of parenthood with race and gender. But mostly, she loves a good story.

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