Flew the Coop
She’s gone. I don’t know why. I don’t know where. I don’t exactly know when. All I know is Mama Bird left, abandoning her eggs. Those precious little ones, and one of them is missing, too. There used to be four eggs, now all that remains are three.
I haven’t seen Mama Bird in three days, and I’ve been anxiously looking for her, but now I know she’s not coming back. I’ve been speculating as to the cause of her sudden disappearance, and I can’t come up with a viable explanation. All my knowledge (read: no knowledge) of ornithology can’t explain what causes a mother to abandon her children.
Were there early warning signs? Perhaps. She always seemed overly skittish and a bit too eager to flit away from the nest whenever I walked past. I mean, she IS the one who chose to build next to MY front door. Besides, if she’d paid close attention she would have noticed that I never actually came near; I always wanted to give her the space and distance she needed. I only took my pictures when she was away from the nest; I certainly didn’t drive her out to indulge my trigger happy finger.
Did she just get bored? In all my fourteen years (plus nine additional months if you count them) of mothering I can’t think of one single moment of boredom. Exhaustion, yes, but boredom? Never.
Did she think becoming a mother would be easier? Certainly there is no quick fix to any of life’s challenges and no one has the sole solution for being a super mom, but we each have plenty of opportunities to be amazing in our own little spheres with our own little flock.
Did she get a better offer? This is a painful question to answer. And I don’t think we can answer it for anyone but ourselves, but we all know at least one person, don’t we? You know – that person who is technically a parent (read: sperm donor), yet they aren’t parenting. In fact, they’re living a life that would suggest they are completely unaware their genes had any descendents at all! They come in all shapes and sizes, and all forms of uninvolved. But that’s probably a separate conversation altogether, isn’t it?
Did she get gobbled up by a predator? Maaaybe, but I don’t see any evidence of it at all. Wouldn’t there be some suspicious feather dusting on the ground or in the nest? Signs of a scuffle? Her last attempt to keep her eggs warm at all cost? Is there anything threatening to gobble us up, to consume us in such a way that would prevent us from being present with our children? If so, take Peggy Sue‘s mother’s advice and “Stay away from it.”
My heart is surprisingly heavy with the reality of Mama Bird’s departure. I’ve been eagerly watching the progress of her growing family and I feel as if all that she’s left behind are unanswered questions, three abandoned eggs, plus one dead plant. How long should I mourn the loss? I need to move on and replace the hanging basket. But all I want to do is thank my parents for keeping us warm and safe and close together. Our nest was crowded, but I never ever worried that someone might fly away and not come back.