Monday, April 2, 2012

She is perched high in her nest, looking over the last of the winter leaves swirling in the wind. The journey of this last evidence of winter is slowed only by the early shoots of spring, the tender blades are no match for the windblown leaves so their journey continues. The mama bird has been patiently caring for her soon-to-be hatchling. She has sat for hours on end with her body protecting her young child. The warmth of her body has shielded him from the cold winds and the curious looks from squirrels and other predators. As her wings wrap around him she coos to him softly to calm his fears.

As time passes, mama bird knows that it will soon be time for her little one to test his wings. She whispers to him softly, instilling courage and confidence as she teaches him the lessons he will need when he departs the only home he's ever known.

The day arrives and baby bird is trying to hide his trepidation and doesn't notice that mama bird is having the same feelings. She looks him over and fluffs his new feathers, reminding him of the lessons she has taught him. He climbs on the edge of the nest and looks at the ground far below then looks at the sky that beckons him. Mama keeps calming encouraging him, she tells him how strong and brave he has become. At her urging, he slowly steps of the ledge of his home. He begins spiraling downward, fearing he had forgotten everything he was taught. Mama looks nervously from the ledge and sees him getting closer to the ground. She is filled with self-doubt. Did she not teach the correct lessons, was she pushing him out too soon. Her instincts tell her to rush down, catch her son and bring him safely back to the nest. They could wait a few weeks and try again. But she kept her place, believing her son was well equipped for the journey.

Just a few feet from the ground, baby bird seemed to gather his courage. He began to flap his tiny wings and the faster he flapped the stronger he became. He began to rise higher and higher, growing stronger and stronger. Soon he was circling and showing off for his mom. She watched him, laughing and clapping, full of joy for him. He flew past the nest one more time, winked at his mom and started his new life on his own.

Mama had tears of joy! The lessons and encouragement had come to fruition. Her son was grown now. There will always be an empty spot in the nest where he rested his head. He no longer needs her protection and warmth, but the time they spent growing together will always keep their hearts connected.

As my days go by, I think of my children in a type of time capsules. I think of cute things they did as babies, their favorite books, favorite toys. I worked and was not able to spend the time I wanted with them when they were young. It seemed as if we spent most of our time traveling to ball games, ballet and music lessons. I always wanted to nurture their passions - the things they loved. I was sure Allie would find a vocation in music, but her love is the written word. I knew Andrew would be in the military, but I thought it would be his career. He has become the music lover in the family and wants to pursue that passion.

My intention was to raise my children with confidence to go out into the world. I wanted them to stand up for what they believe in, to love what is right and to hate what is wrong. I love what they have become. They are both incredibly independent. Allie is the woman I wish I had been at her age. Independent, hard working, involved in civic affairs and charities. When an interview panel asked her if she was an animal, what would she be, she surprised them by saying "a duck". That is a perfect description of her. She looks calm to those around her, but underneath she is always busy paddling.

Andrew is strong, courageous, and loyal. I am very proud of the man he has become. We share the "gift" of stubbornness, so we locked horns many times. You will always know what he thinks on any subject. Outspoken would be an understatement. When he was about 10 years old, a friend of mine witnessed him speaking his mind. She said, "once the Word gets a hold of him, he will be a strong witness for God". I believe we are beginning to see that transition for him and it fills my heart with joy.

I have been incredibly blessed with these children. I am humbled that God trusted me to care for them and love them with all my heart.

"His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me."

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