The act of leaving the nest is a bit traumatic for everyone involved.
I had the opportunity to observe the process in microcosm one summer when a Robin family built a nest between a light and a down spout on our back yard deck. Baby birds emerged from pretty blue eggs, and we grew attached to our little bird family.
One day the sounds from the nest changed. The nest bound birds requested their feeding as usual, but Mama Robin did not cooperate. Instead, she squawked at them from the crab apple tree on the other side of the deck.
This went on for a while, and Mama Robin did not budge.
Eventually, one little fledgling flopped out of the nest, with a frightening thud, onto the deck below. The poor stunned little guy did not take flight, in spite of much flapping and flailing. Instead, he rather frantically hopped into the yard.
Shortly thereafter a second nest dweller jumped to independence. Thud. More flopping, flapping and flailing ensued.
About that time I noticed a hawk in the corkscrew willow tree in the corner of our back yard. Now, being quite invested in these two freshly launched birdlings, I was horrified at the thought of a predator in the vicinity. We sent our black standard poodle, Samson, out to encourage the hawk to reconsider his lunch menu. Mission accomplished. Whew!
Meanwhile, Mama Robin was lecturing the remaining chick from her perch in the corner tree. The little guy didn’t seem too eager to leave the nest. Maybe he had noticed the hawk too. I watched for a while longer, but finally had to leave the drama. I trust the final robin safely left his nest.
I remember all of this in detail because shortly thereafter we installed our daughter, the first of our three to leave the nest, in her freshman college dorm room. She was ready to jump, and I knew it was time, but it was still traumatic.
Anxious thoughts of hawk-like predators who would eat sensitive daughters like mine for lunch unnerved me. Needless to say, I prayed. A lot. To the best of my knowledge, perhaps with a little flopping and flailing, she has launched herself into independence safely and beautifully. She is now mama of her own nest.
There comes a day when it is time for children to leave the nest. I understand and applaud their instinct for independence, and mama drama notwithstanding I’ll encourage and pray for them from my nearby perch.
I can no longer physically watch over my children, but I know the One who does. Even so, it is still an unsettling process, and I miss my (not so) little chicks.
“I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber…” Psalm 121:1-3
Note: For more thoughts on praying for young adult children, see one of my early posts called Moses With his Hands Up.