Up and Out

Last year, a mother Carolina wren made a wonderful nest on my back porch. For two weeks, we watched the parents tend to their youngsters. I don’t know a lot about this species, so those twelve days of observation taught me a lot. For example, in that very short period of time, the chicks grow tremendously. At the end of twelve days, they are almost as big as their parents. But though they are adult-size, mom and dad don’t expect them to behave like grown-ups. Even when the babies are so large that the nest is literally bursting at the seams, the parents tend them carefully. Then they bring them from the nest and begin teaching them to fly, letting them take little flights from branch to branch to strengthen their wings. Now this process has a whole new meaning for me.

Tiny, helpless, impressionable. They need their parents to teach them how to be who they are.

Tiny, helpless, impressionable. They need their parents to teach them how to be who they are.

My house is quiet this morning. For the second time in three days, I made a pre-dawn trip to a rendezvous point to drop off a child for a trip. The girl-child went on a mission trip to the inner-cities of Philadelphia, and the Padawan left this morning in a convoy of 41 buses to visit our nation’s capitol with the Safety Patrol. My chicks are making their test flights, stretching their wings and discovering the world beyond mom and dad. It’s exciting, it’s terrifying, it’s expensive. Since big brother and sister got to take big trips, Squish’s grandmother invited him to her house for some adventures of his own. He left last night. Suddenly my nest that was so cramped feels big. It feels empty.

I’ve been reminded lately of how brief my time raising kids actually is. The oldest is a year away from being on her own. Today, with the house so quiet I can hear the refrigerator hum, I have a glimpse of what my life will be like in a few short years. It’s my day off, and I am alone. Now I am asking the inevitable question. What do I do when there is no one asking for a hug or a lightsaber duel, no one to take to the zoo or to the park, no one looking to me to meet a need? What do I do?

And the answer is: Any ever-lovin’ thing I want. How about popcorn and a MoonPie for breakfast?

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15 thoughts on “Up and Out

  1. Enjoy the freedom …. until the Grandbabies are dropped off and the whole cycle begins again ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ Laura

  2. You and your moon pies. What ever they are. I know how you feel though, it wears off, soon you will want them back! Not for long you understand, just a wee chat and a mooning pie and then boot them back out! c

  3. I’m making a birthday cake for the boy who turns 13 today. Today, for the first time, I took a backseat to the recipient of his text messages as the two of us were riding alone in the car – a time normally reserved for a little chit chat and bad jokes before he gets bored and plugs in his ear phones. I should be happy that smelling good and looking good are much higher on his list now, that friendships have brought him confidence, that new experiences to come have made him feel independent and given him reason to strive, to reach for something more inside of himself. I am happy. I AM darnit! But I have to admit there is this little aching thing – not big, mind you, but it’s there. I guess it’s not just about him learning to fly, but about me spreading my own wings a bit more. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Happy day to you, friend!

  4. I’ve crossed that bridge permanently. In the beginning it is a little hard to find the rhythm of what I call the “besides,” (what you are “besides” being a Mom). Once you find it though, the void of time is filled and I was off and running. As I filled in the “besides,” I noticed that my kids began to see me in a better light and a fuller frame. I think I’ve actually managed to impress them! I’ve now become a sage to them. Who knew? ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Love your attitude! Unfortunately, the euphoria only lasts a few days & then you get tired of moon pies for breakfast, so if I were you I would put some plans in place now for what you’re going to do with yourself when all the kidlets leave home.

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