Mamas and Babies: Things change, but don’t.

I was so scared when I saw the robin eggs at eye level in a leatherleaf mahonia bush in the front landscaping. Could they possibly last long enough to hatch given snakes just out for a stroll in the warming weather? Would the nest blow out of the bush in a strong spring wind? Maybe the eggs would hatch but the naked babies never survive a neighborhood cat’s attack.

Last year there were eggs, but there were no baby robins. We thought perhaps the mama abandoned the nest when she realized her home was too close to the ground and humans would walk by at least a few times a week.

But this year, there they were just a few days later, wet feathers with oversized cloudy eyes, and mouths gaping for a feeding when I sneaked a peek. Mama threw a fit every time I passed by. Papa sat in a tall crape myrtle and issued warnings.

Just a few days later, there was a nest full of cautious little fledglings, and Mama still told the whole neighborhood when I got close. Two days ago, I checked in and if I’ve ever seen a fuller house outside of a poker game, this one was it. When I looked at them, they just hunkered down and hugged each other. Mama hollered at me from the weeping cherry nearby.

I knew it was time, and sure enough, on Saturday before Mother’s Day, they were all gone. I wondered if all of them learned to fly before something caught them on the ground. I worried that a hawk sat steely-eyed in one of the ravine’s tall trees to only swoop down on a targeted flight.

Mama robins don’t do much caretaking once the babies take off. Unlike their human counterpartresses, they go back to what they were doing before, which I imagine is looking for worms and soaring high, or wafting through the neighborhood to a crape myrtle branch to sing for us. Their next job will be another brood this year. No wonder they don’t mind if their babies never return.

I remember when both my sons left home at the same time. The empty-nest syndrome washed over me like a waterfall. When our children start to fly, human mamas may be proud to see them achieving adulthood but some of us shed a few tears, or maybe more, in their all too silent absence.

We know our babies will return, some to stay for another while, some for just a visit. Some will bring their babies to visit.

My mother and I celebrated our Mother’s Day one day early. The children, grandchildren, and great-granchildren came to visit, cards and presents in hand. My brother Denny sent a generous gift card. There were flowers all over the place, Jeni’s blueberry-lemon ice cream, and a big bunch of laughing. We hugged over and over. My seventeen-year-old grandson cuddled me on the couch and later I got a photo of him sitting on his dad’s lap. The littles whooped and played with the oldest grandson leading the hooroar.

Mom asked me what we would have for Mother’s Day Sunday dinner. I said, “Pork roast. I’ve got to cook the rest of the pork shoulder I used for the chilaquiles.”

“What goes with it?” she asked.

I answered, “Oh, I guess I’ll cook some sweet potatoes and make some coleslaw.”

“My favorites,” Mom said.

“Yes, I knew that.”

“What am I having for dessert?” she asked.

“Pecan pie.”

“Oh, wow!” Mom was thrilled over the menu.

See, if all works right, human kids come back over and over again, and at some point, when the human kids are all grown up, they take care of their parents. How they care for mother and father is not nearly as important as that they care.

We make choices for Mom these days. She’s extremely willing and favorable, especially to the idea that we let her choose whenever possible. Unlike the little robins, humans can go home again. Unlike the possibilities for Mama Robin, Our Mama’s been with her children for eleven years now.

We all say a Happy Mother’s Day to Mom, Ethel, Mama Blair, Grandma, GrandmaMA!

A PRAYER ON MOTHER’S DAY, 1999

Father, we praise you on this special observance of Mother’s Day.  We thank you for showing us your creative, nurturing, loving side, all those things that we naturally associate with motherhood.  We are reminded that while you do seem to bless our mothers abundantly with those special gifts, you offer those same gifts to all, as we learn to live by your example. 

We give you thanks for our mothers and we know that the unconditional love they give us could only come from you.  We ask your special watch over those soon to become mothers and we beg your healing and comfort for those who struggle to conceive. We beg you to bring a child to their home. We ask your wisdom and reconciliation for those who find themselves with child and aren’t truly ready to be mothers.  In your wisdom, bring them to a true soul-blessing through whatever path you design.   We thank you for stand-in mothers, the ones who are just like mothers to us.   We pray your wisdom for mothers in difficult situations, and for those who care for mothers, we claim your guidance and blessing. Wrap your consolation around those who have lost their mothers, whether through death or separation. 

Lord, in your Mercy…..Hear our prayer.

We continue to pray for an end to violent situations in our world and for the people and community of Columbine.  We feel a seed of healing that has already begun and we are so thankful for your comforting power.  Help us to aid the healing and give us the wisdom to work toward peace and safety everywhere. 

Lord, in your Mercy…..Hear our prayer.

Lord, bless our efforts to bring peace to Kosovo.  When we are headed in the wrong direction, turn us around to the right path.  Bless all those who continue to work with the refugees and bring comfort and healing to the displaced people who are being moved to new, strange homes.   Help them to hear your tender voice promising, “I will never leave you as orphans” and use us as instruments of your peace and mercy.   

Lord, in your Mercy…..Hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for the gift of your Comforter.    Make His presence known this day to the sick, the troubled, and the grieving.  We especially remember those on our prayer list…..

And we now pray silently for others who are on our hearts and in our minds….

Lord, in Your Mercy…..Hear our prayer.

Into your hands, our Father, we commit all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

AMEN.

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