A few weeks ago I put a spring wreath on the front door, one of eucalyptus and fake pink flowers. Nice and round like most wreaths, I enjoyed looking at it…and smelling it too. One day I noticed with dismay that it seemed a bit elongated. Hmmm. What was going on? The next day as I was standing by the door talking on the phone, I took a closer look at the wreath and could have sworn that it was growing. Peering a bit closer, I was astonished to see a small bird’s nest and a tiny blue egg. Who built the nest, and where was she? The next day there were two eggs, but I still hadn’t seen Mama Bird. A couple of days later, I was saddened to see that one of the eggs had splattered on the front steps. When I took a peek into the nest, however, there were still two eggs. That was a week ago, and now there are four.
We’re watching this little drama with great interest. DH noticed that every time we approached the door, the mama would fly away to a nearby tree and wait until the coast was clear before returning to sit on her eggs. Now we noticed that she doesn’t wait so long; within seconds, she’s back. We know that she feels the need to sit on these developing little eggs so that they can hatch into sparrows like she is, and we’ve begun cooperating by using another entrance/exit. This morning when I left for an early morning walk, I left through a back door that necessitated walking around the house in order to get to the road. Not that it was a problem. It’s just that it hit me that the baby chick development has become a priority for us.
Why am I relating this story? Because as I was out walking this morning, I found myself thinking about mothers and babies. Whether human or bird, mothers do a lot of the same things, and humans could take a few lessons from our feathered friends. This little mama takes her mothering responsibilities seriously. Instead of gadding about all over the neighborhood, she stays right in the nest protecting and nurturing her eggs. Although there’s a lot to be experienced in the environment, she realizes that the most important thing she can do right now is be there for her baby birds’ development. Once in a while she’ll fly away, but she always comes back ASAP. After the babies are hatched, she’ll venture out to get a few juicy worms for her little brood, but for the most part, she’ll stay right there with them. At some point, she’ll “kick them out of the nest” for their own good…and hers too. Mama birds aren’t enablers.
I also realized that just as DH and I are doing our part to assist her, human mothers need others to assist them. Whether it’s advice, free babysitting, a casserole, or words of encouragement, mothers would appreciate it. I know all these things because I’m a mother and a grandmother, and Mama Sparrow has reminded me of some truths.