Mamas, Dramas, and Leaving the Nest

If you look carefully, you can see little baby bird beaks peeking out from their nest.

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.

Mama Robin’s perch 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.

Imagine a hawk in the far tree

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.

Our daughter’s high school graduation party

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.

On Friday our son, the second to jump from the nest, moved into an apartment.  In a few weeks, our youngest will move back to college.  Our nest will be empty for the first time (until next summer.)

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.

9 thoughts on “Mamas, Dramas, and Leaving the Nest

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  1. Moving post Judy. Thanks for pointing me to it. “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.” Loved your finish…

  2. Beautiful post! I love the way you tied the baby birds’ story to your personal story! May God bless you and strengthen you, and keep your baby birds in His loving care. 🙂


  3. Birds do find the craziest places to set up shop. I always wonder if they do a little reconnaissance before moving right in . . . who knows.

    I smiled as you took you story and made it personal, a beautiful transition. And while you may have had reservations and hesitations — what mother wouldn’t! — I can see you there, nudging your baby birds out of their nests, knowing that ultimately it is the best thing for them. If that day ever comes for me, I hope I can be as brave as you!

    Lovely post, Judy.

    ~ Cara

  4. You know, Judy–I’m not a mom, and yet I can easily imagine your feelings; that mix of wanting healthy independent kids who will follow their dreams, conquer their world, discover and realize the Plan God has uniquely designed for them–and the deep ache within as you let go of the babies you can still glimpse in their maturing faces and bodies. I pray God will richly bless each of your baby birds–and that He will be very near to your heart, assuring you that you’ve done the job He gave you, and done it exceedingly well. Much love, sis Caddo

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