The third installment of serialized Fly Like a Penguin, the Adventure for Kids and Other People…
Since the days of their courtship, Emily and Emmett hadn’t been so happy. Emily huddled over the egg on her feet while Emmett waddled back and forth exclaiming every now and then, “Wow! We’ve got an egg. We’re going to have a chick! We called for help, and here it is!”
During this time of waiting for the hatching, they talked over many things, like how they would walk proudly among their fellow Emperors with their new little one, and what the name should be. They decided on Peter or Penelope.
Finally the day arrived when the little penguin began poking his beak through the shell of the egg. They could hardly contain their excitement as they watched that beak pecking the hole bigger and bigger.
Then out popped a little gray head with two beady eyes that were also radiant with joy and determination. Then the whole egg split apart as a little male penguin hopped out onto the ice at Emily’s feet. He didn’t look at all like them and was much smaller than the usual babies they had seen among their acquaintances.
When it came time for him to venture outside of the warmth of Emily’s feathers, he did something else that surprised them, although it probably shouldn’t have. Instead of waddling as they did, he hopped around as he explored his new world. He hopped over to Emmett and rubbed his beak on his feet, and then hopped back to Emily.
“Well, Emmy dear,” said Emmett, “I think we had forgotten what he was here for. He’s not here to make us proud Emperor parents. He’s here as a gift and for us to teach him the right way, loving him as he is, even though he’s not much like us. He’s a Rockhopper, and Hopper will be his name.”
Emily smiled as she cuddled the baby penguin and said, “We’re glad you’re here, Hopper. I don’t know why you were brought to us, but I’m sure you’ll grow up to be someone special.”
News traveled fast about the hatching of old Emmett and Emily’s baby, and soon their place was surrounded by friends, relatives and others from the colony. Many came to offer congratulations as a matter of social courtesy, but when they saw Hopper, they would say something like, “We just wanted to say how happy we are for you, that you were finally able to have a chick. He’s such an interesting-looking little fellow, isn’t he?” Then they would leave, whispering rapidly to each other.
Others were more honest about what they thought and said things like, “He’s really quite small, is he not?” or “You’ll have to teach him to waddle, I can tell you that right now,” or “Where’d he get those beady eyes?”
By the end of the day, Emily and Emmett were feeling crushed. The most important event in their life, and no one really cared. They’d rather find fault. But they decided they wouldn’t let it bother them. Hopper would be their son, and he would be a part of the colony. He would learn to love others who didn’t understand or care about him.