Chicks in my nest

Yesterday was a good day.  A busy day.  A day especially fulfilling as a mom.  We’ve had a lot going on (like most people) and I’ve felt quite pulled in many directions.  However, I got to check some important boxes on my “mom list.”  I got the laundry caught up, took care of some things at home, and was out most of the day shopping for basic needs. We are blessed to live where food is available. I never take that for granted – especially after having been to Africa last year.  Some things in life seem so unfair, and so I try to be a good steward of our money and what it buys.

I love cooking and baking.  There is something gratifying about starting with nothing and ending up with a creation that makes others happy and satisfied.  We’ve been pantry-pullin’ (meaning eating out of the freezer, pantry and fridge) for quite some time to stretch the budget and eat what we already have.  But, there comes a point when a restock is necessary.  This was yesterday.  I asked my family what they would like and I made a list.

First, I went to one superstore to get the dry stuff.  After running carpool, going to the post office, etc. I made another trip to my local grocer to get the fresh stuff.  Both were long trips and I was ready to be done (but thankful I could do it in the first place).

As the kids and I unloaded the van and were putting the food away together, my daughter called me to the backyard.  We’ve been tracking the progress of a Robin’s nest for a while now.  The babies finally hatched (featured in yesterday’s post) and they are growing more restless by the day.  Their routine has been: sit quietly for a while, then frantically call for their mom who comes swooping in with a huge worm clutched in her beak.  She hoovers in the air, wings rapidly flailing, while she gives each baby bird part of the worm.  Then, in an instant, she flies off in search for more.  She’s extremely shy, and no matter how many times I quietly race out there with my camera, she’s gone in a flash.

In the middle of unloading everything, my daughter called to me that Mamma is back again with yet another worm to settle their veracious appetites.  I got there just in time to see her in action.  She was so quick, I couldn’t even focus my lens before she vanished.  But, for a brief moment, I watched her do her thing.  It touched me in a special way.  I stood silently and watched those babies rustle their feathers and squirm about in the nest.  They won’t be there much longer.  One baby hopped up onto the side of the nest and peered over the edge several times out of curiosity.

It was then I made the connection to Mamma Robin.  She and I, oddly, live similar lives.  She built a strong nest to hatch her babies.  The walls are unusally high, and even on the top step of a ladder (yeah, I know, what was I thinking!) I still could not see into the nest.  Indeed, she built a humble home for her little ones up under the roof of the house to protect them from the hawks that are common here.  She sat with them while they were very young, and now spends most of her time and energy caring for their needs.

Oh how I can relate!  Ironically, her flying to and fro made me chuckle as I had done the exact same thing yesterday, except I drove from store-to-store.

All three birds comfy and cozy yesterday.

Baby Robin #1 left home yesterday afternoon…and landed right into our pool.  My daughter didn’t hesitate to jump in after it.

It’s so scared!  But it’ll be fine.  It’s in good hands (literally!)

Wet, but safe!  It shakes off the water, as well as the whole experience, and runs under a bush.

Yesterday, two were left.

We can tell #2 is getting ready to leave by the way it paces and hops around.

<<Baby Robin #2 left sometime last night or early this morning.>>  We were excited to see her hopping around this morning.

The elusive mamma captured in a rare (albeit fuzzy) photo.

Baby Robin #3 is the only one left this morning.

While writing this post this morning, my kids called to me to come quickly.  I arrived just in time to see #3.  After perching on the edge and pacing back and forth, he finally gathered the courage and took flight.

Oops!  Trying to learn to fly, he landed in the pool, just like Baby #1.  My daughter rescued him as well.  Here is is wet and flustered.

The empty nest.

My mom’s heartstrings pulled as I gazed at this quiet nest.  For many days it was a time of anticipation and excitement.  The eggs hatched, and three adorable babies entered the world.  They grew a little each day.  Mamma Robin faithfully attended their needs.  They began to wriggle around in the nest, jockeying for position to receive the most food.  They discovered there is an edge to the nest.  And beyond the edge, there is something mysterious – a ledge of sorts.  On that ledge, they are able to see down to the ground and out into the horizon.  They curiously looked around, rustling their feathers and boasting their chests.  Mamma bird called and they jumped back into the nest.  There she found them waiting for another meal.  She left to hunt again, and they hopped back out onto the ledge, each time with a little more boldness and courage than the time before.

Then it happened.  The first one flew away.  The second one flew away.  The third one flew away.  The nest is quiet.  Mamma’s job tending the nest is finished.  She follows them on the ground for a while, still bringing them food, but no longer do they fly back to the safety of the nest.  They are on their own.  This is, indeed, the story of our children.

What seemed like forever waiting for these baby chicks to grow into cute, fuzzy birds, is now a mere memory recorded in pictures.

In my family, I have one chick perched on the edge, one rustling her feathers, and one pretty comfortable snuggled in the nest.  I can provide.  I can watch over them.  I can tend the nest.  But, I cannot stop time and nature from taking its course.

A bird can only appreciate her job so much.  She is, after all, a bird.  But, we are made differently.  We are made in the image of God – with thoughts, feelings and responses.  We have the ability to embrace the task of mothering that God has given us and do it to the best of our abilities.  I never once heard Mamma Robin squawking and complaining to the other mammas about her job.  I never saw her make the babies feel guilty for having needs.  We can learn a lot from this mamma.  Do we take our jobs to heart and show our gratitude for the blessing of our children?  Do we enjoy the time we have with them or wish it would hurry up and end?

I once overheard a mother in a store talking to a friend.  The mother’s middle school daughter was standing right beside her when the mother said, with great enthusiasm, “Yes!  I just have a few more years and then I am FREE!  I won’t have any of this anymore and I will be FREE!”  Oh how my heart broke for that beautiful young lady who stood there with her shoulders down and face to the ground.  That was several years ago.  I wonder how that mom is enjoying her freedom now, because I can’t imagine the daughter ever wanting to revisit her nest.

It’s a cliche, but time is short.  Make the most of it.  Most mothers wanted their children when they had them.  Do we truly act like it?  These are harsh words, but it’s the raw reality that in a self-centered society such as ours, the kingdom of mothers can quickly turn into a whiny parade of women who can’t let life be about anyone but themselves.

Our children will grow up and fly with or without us.  We have the responsibility to provide for their needs.  But, we have also been given the privilege to enjoy the journey along the way.  I lost my mom when I was 16.  I know time is short.  None of us know how long we have on this earth.  But, you have today.  I encourage you to enjoy it.  Enjoy tending the nest.  Enjoy providing.  Enjoy protecting.  Enjoy your children – while they are still children. And be thankful.

3 thoughts on “Chicks in my nest

  1. Thanks for sharing this post. I’m there, watching my teens teetering at the edge of the nest, hoping I’ve given them all the tools necessary to fly, dreading the day when there’s only a feather remnant left to remember the short time together.

    • I’m right there with you. I find myself making the most of the opportunities I’m given these days to help set my kids on sure ground for their future. It’s nice to know I am not alone in the joy and pain (in a good way) of mothering. Thanks for writing!

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