It was only nine days ago. I first climbed the ladder, peeked into the nest and saw the baby robins just nine days ago.
They were tiny and awkward and helpless. They only had down feathers. They just sat there with their beaks wide open and their eyes shut, waiting for mama robin to bring food.
And I was completely smitten.
I felt so special that the mama bird had chosen our tree to make her nest! I put the ladder away so that the mama robin wouldn't catch me looking at her babies and get upset. I Googled how long it takes baby robins to leave the nest and was surprised that they fly away in less than two weeks! I decided to check on them every other day so I could see how they were growing, and I thought maybe I'd be lucky enough to see them actually leave the nest when it was time!
In the past week I saw both mother and father robin collecting worms to feed the babies, and I could often see the mother robin actually sitting on the nest. Cuuuute!! This whole endeavor just thrilled me.
Seven days after first peeking into the nest, I climbed the ladder and was surprised how big they were! The four of them were all crowded in the nest on top of each other! Darling! They grew so quickly!
Then yesterday morning, the kids and I were leaving the house to take my son to school on his last day of 6th grade, and we could see the baby robins peeking at us over the edge of the nest! We didn't even need to get the ladder!
When I returned home a few hours later, I couldn't see their little heads peeking out anymore. I got a sinking feeling. I was pretty sure that they were too big to be hiding down in the nest out of sight.
And with dread I went to get the ladder.
When I climbed up to investigate, I saw that I was right. The nest was empty.
You guys, I was so sad. Tears spring to my eyes right now as I remember it.
The empty nest.
It happened so fast.
You blink, and they're gone.
And I thought how fitting it was that it happened on the last day of school for the year. Because my kids are growing up way too fast. I'm going to blink, and one day they'll be gone!
Earlier this week my husband texted me a picture that popped up on his Facebook from eight years ago. My babies!
Gaaaahhhh, whenever I see pictures of my kids like this, I feel a physical ache in my chest. I miss these littles SO much! Why do they grow up so fast?? Don't get me wrong, I love who my kids are now, but it's so sad that growing up also means growing away.
Today was the first day of summer vacation, and I had an idea. I should cut that nest out of the tree and hang it on the wall with some sort of poignant saying! The empty nest thing, you know? So I considered, what should I write on it? This was my first thought:
"Treasure every moment....before you know it they'll be gone."
Then I realized how depressing that is! What a way to focus on the loss. What a way to be sad before they even go! What a way to dread the future. And then I thought of a better perspective:
"The goal all along was to teach them to fly."
Yesssssss. I really do want to prepare my babies to fly away. What an honor to spend these years with them! What a joy to teach them to one day be independent and to leave the nest. I will miss them like heck when they go, but....