My daughter and I are simultaneously learning what it feels like to have to sit back and let our little ones learn to fly.
She’s almost 16. And this week she’s been nursing two baby Robins. They fell from a tree in our front yard one day when it was really windy. My six year old son found them first, as well as two more who didn’t make it. He was so very sad. We came in the house and rocked a bit, and after his tears stopped, we went to tell his big sister.
She came out to look, and immediately went into action. I was certain these birds were seconds away from death, but my little girl wasn’t giving up so easily. She found a box, lined it with some grass-like plants from the flower garden, and ever-so- carefully lifted these tiny, hurt creatures into the box. As weak as they were, it took them only a few moments to crawl to each other and snuggle close. And that’s how we usually find them even now.
She looked online for ideas on what to feed them, and thankfully learned not to give them water. (Wouldn’t you just assume they needed water?) She’s been giving them soggy cat food; one little piece at a time.
She gets up at 6:00 AM, (which is very early for her) with absolutely no prodding from us, and feeds them every hour until sundown. She changes out their box when it gets too messy, which is also not something I would ever expect her to be willing to do. (Did you ever wonder about birds pooping in their nest? We’re still not sure how all that is handled.)
Yesterday she had them outside, watching them hop around in the yard. They’ve come so far. From these tiny little things who barely had wings, and couldn’t spread them anyway, to these fluffy little sassy creatures who start adamantly chirping whenever she comes to their box. Huge mouths open, ready for the next deposit.
And now, perching on her finger, daring to take little hops, down to the ground.
We’ve enjoyed watching her taking such an interest, and even more so, accepting the responsibility of giving them what they need when they need it, not just when she wants to give it.
It’s turned into a bit of a family project. Even though she still does all the work, the rest of us can’t resist peaking in on the little squirts, and asking her how they’re doing. Our neighbors had an abandoned nest that they said we could come get. Yesterday, she and Daddy figured out a way to attach it to the tree the birds had fallen from. Everything we read online says that the mama will return to feed the birds.
I believe today is a turning point in the saga of the baby birds.
Joe and Lydia stayed up late last night watching movies, so he told her that she could get up and feed them at 6:00 but that he would see to them at 7:00 so she could just go back to bed. She did, and he sat outside watching the fledglings poke around the yard.
And then the mama came. She fed her babies, just like we were told she would.
So, Joe’s been watching, making sure the many neighborhood cats don’t come along and snatch up the babies.
The mama comes and goes, each time bringing a worm for one of her babies.
Joe put one of them in the box we’ve been keeping them in and it jumped right out.
**feel that little tug on your Mama-heart?**
So we’re at that precarious place where we have to let go, but we know these birds are not ready to fly.
This is what fledglings do. They hop around on the ground. Learning to fly bit-by-bit. Vulnerable to all of the animals that would see them as a tasty snack.
But there is nothing we can do from here but watch, and try to keep the dog in the house.
They’re not ready to fly, but they’re ready to learn. Ready to not be confined to the safety of the box we made for them.
Oh, there was nothing wrong with making them a safe box. (Just incase you’ve been accused of sheltering your children, it’s totally not a bad thing.) That box saved those little lives. I told my daughter that she did her job. She protected them from the intense sun that was beating down on those hurt babies. She fed them, and protected them from all other harm. She did her part. And we’re so proud of her.
I’m in the house now, as she and Daddy sit on the front porch watching the babies. The dog is frantically running from window to window, knowing he is missing out on something big.
And I wonder, is she feeling that tug on her “mama-heart”?
I went out and chatted just for a minute while we watched them poke around in the grass.
I told her that she’s getting a taste of what a mom feels like when it’s time to watch her baby learn to fly.
It’s kind of like how I felt the first time I watched her get into the car, driven by her newly licensed friend, and drive off to Starbucks.
Those first little hops away from the nest.
There is a time in between “the box” and the flying, that the babies are in a somewhat perilous position. Yes, the mama and daddy are near, but they can not protect them like they did when they were safe in the nest.
Just like those parent birds, we offer what protection we can, (we didn’t let her jump in the car with just anyone to go just anywhere) and we trust the Lord to protect them while they’re “hopping around, finding their wings.”
The Lord designed these tiny little Robins hopping around my yard. He told their Mama how to feed them, and when and how to let them go. Mama can let them go because God also shows these precious babies what to do next.
And I have to trust the He will oh-so-much-more, show my precious baby what to do next.
Oh, it’s so hard to step away from the nest and let your little one hop about, exploring the world around them, testing and strengthening their wings.
But we can still come around and check. Bring them a tasty treat, watch, wait. Always be their Mama.
Sweet Lydia, I’ll always be your mama. I’ll always fear a little bit for your safety when you drive off with a friend, or fly away to places unknown, or give your heart away. But I’ll always be watching. And I’ll always be here to give you whatever you need; be it protection, provision, or just a warm shoulder and some chocolate covered pretzels. And I trust that God is always with you. Providing, protecting, instructing. Listen to Him. Follow Him. He is the only way you will safely go from the box to the air.
Linking up with:
teachingwhatisgood.com cornerstoneconfessions.com missionalcall.com richfaithrising.blogspot.com juanamikels.com wholeheartedhome.com mydailywalkinhisgrace.com gracedsimplicity.com gospelhomemaking.com thedeliberatemom.com amamasstory.com