Today I came home from my son's fifth grade graduation and discovered that the three baby robins nested on top of our electric box have flown away. I was hit with a conflicting sensation of simultaneous joy and loss.
On the one hand I had been concerned that the electric box was not the best place for baby birds. I often worried that one day I would come home to find a wounded or dead baby bird on my deck. Realizing that all three birds had successfully flown the nest meant that they had survived their perilous place of origin. They were grown, they had flown!
On the other hand, I'm going to miss the excitement of getting to watch them grow. I had come to enjoy coming out every day to see how they were doing. Now I will just have to wonder when I see a robin in my backyard if it might be one of the babies all grown up coming back for a visit.
For this to happen on the same day that my son is done with elementary school forever struck me as particularly poignant. Isn't this the same tension that as parents we must always balance? The sense of pride as we watch our children accomplish their next steps, combined with that bittersweet feeling of loss that they are growing up.
If everything goes well and we do our jobs right, our children fly away and leave us with an empty nest. Every milestone they hit, every grade they advance to, as much as our hearts swell with pride there is another feeling there too. That small sense of mourning that our babies are growing up.
Since becoming a mom to a little boy with Trisomy 21 I have written a lot about Down syndrome and disabilities. I am a storyteller, wife and mom to a teen and a toddler. Life is busy!