“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay”- Dalai Lama XIV
Late this spring, we discovered a nest with 9 eggs in our front flowerbed. It all happened quite by accident as we were planting. Momma Duck emerged right out of her hidden spot, flying directly into Tom’s chest, managing to stun them both.
The entire street found great joy in watching her over the next month as she watched us & stayed faithful to those eggs. We marked our calendar with the date we discovered the nest and began to take bets as to when they would hatch. I walked out every morning to check on the eggs, text my neighbors any updates & encourage Momma Duck to tell her she was doing a good job. I even created a make-shift shelter for her during our repeated hailstorms. My kids kept reminding me she was a DUCK & could handle a little rain. They called her my new obsession. I called it mom solidarity.
Just like our momma duck, we spent a lot of time this spring protecting our flock and getting ready for the future. We focused on last-minute college trips to help make a final decision, prepping for prom, studying for AP tests, attending awards ceremonies, celebrating at graduation parties, decorating mortar boards, rolling off of boards we serve on, traveling for work, finishing BSF leadership, launching new businesses, hiking to train for Philmont, reviewing for middle school final exams, celebrating Mother’s Day and two birthdays, finalizing summer travel details, and prepping Mattie for a summer abroad in Madrid. The days flew by as we tried to make sure we had prepared enough. We were weary.
Suddenly, it was graduation day. I was sure it was just yesterday that we had kissed preschool behind & here we were saying farewell to high school.
I asked my talented neighbor to come over to take a few family pictures of us all in our front yard. Of course, we had to check on the neighborhood ducks. Imagine our surprise when we discovered the eggs were hatching right as we were taking graduation pictures! Momma Duck had done her job & I am sure she was weary! We would take a few family photos of our graduate in his cap & gown, then tiptoe near her nest to see how many more had hatched. We would snap a few pics of the baby ducks & then us & then back again.
Little did I know that my flock & hers were both preparing to launch at the same time, for the next morning, they were all gone. In order to allow them to thrive, they had to move on to somewhere else. Her protective nest had given them a place to grow, but if they were to gain the life skills they needed, they had to leave.
The irony was not lost on me. I had been keeping my emotions in check until that morning. How could they be gone so quickly?! Where are they? Will they be ok? Are they prepared? Will they stumble? Will there be challenges ahead? Will they discover what they need to know? Will they love their new adventures? Will they return? I am sure the answer to all of these questions is “yes,” but it’s a hopeful, quiet “yes” when you are a mom.
A dear friend shared her mom’s frequent wise words with me earlier this year. They stuck with me & still ring oh, so true, “Birds and children fly away.” Yes, yes, they do.