May 5, 2016

Mommy Bird and the Heartbreak of Motherhood

A mother robin built a nest in the crook of our garage window, near our side yard's large oak tree. One morning we peeked in and saw one beautiful, tiny, blue egg. The next day there was a total of four.

The kids were enamored but warned to stay away. "Let the Mommy Bird take care of her eggs. Don't touch the nest or you could knock it off and the eggs will break."

Two days ago L was playing outside and found half of a blue egg shell. "I think the baby birds are hatching!" Out we all went to peek in the nest again and there they were: two freshly hatched baby birds, in all their sorta-gross awesomeness.

Yesterday I set up a bench in the garage, right be the window, so the kids could look through any time they wanted. Throughout the day, practically every hour, they would pop outside to check on the Mommy Bird and her nest. Another one hatched, though we didn't see it happen, and we waited for the last. I looked forward to watching them grow and seeing them playing in the hostas, peonies, and petunias planted in the flower bed.

This morning Ben went out to check and came in to tell us that something had knocked the nest down and now all the baby birds were gone.

We went out to investigate and it was true. The nest on the ground, the bedding next to it, and the birds all vanished.

"Mommy Bird is so sad!" Resa Rie said.

Really, we are all sad, especially me. Yesterday our family heard some disappointing news. Last night I overheard a child make a hurtful remark to my kiddo. And this morning the baby birds are gone. I said to Travis, about the birds, "Maybe So-and-So did it. He seems to like dashing away hope."

I thought motherhood was tough when I had one little baby who never slept. I thought it was hard when I had two at home and one in the NICU for seven weeks. I thought it was hard when all six kids were home all day long over Spring Break. Keeping kids with food allergies alive and the endless line of small people demanding food, listening to and then correcting the tattling, the continuous circle of tidying and cleaning and cleaning and tidying... that's not what is hard about parenthood. Watching your kids get hurt or having things happen to your family that are beyond your control - that's what's hard.

I suppose I am in  right melancholic state to be incredibly empathetic to that Mommy Bird.


  1. Nothing breaks my heart like an empty bird's nest... I always thought it was just me being extra sappy. You are so so right about the hard part of motherhood being dealing with the heartbreaks, big and small. If ONLY our only worry was keeping them healthy and fed, right?!

  2. Yeah. My oldest is in her first year away at college. Now I don't even have access to the unfairness. a crappy thieving roommate, a mean and mocking professor,,,all far away and for the most part not my turf anymore.

  3. The saying is: little kids little problems, big kids big problems - and it's true to some extent. Every stage has its challenges, both for the children and the parents. But you grow along with your children and you help them where and when you can - but it can be difficult at times. And yes, the hurts and heartbreaks are the worst. - nancyo