Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Maybe it was day 4 or day 11 - time has swirled into one giant neurochemical smoothie- I was headed toward the stairs with baby boy still swinging off one breast when I paused at the front door. A mother robin stood on the front porch with a worm clinched in her beak. She looked at me. I looked at her. Judging by her four fat babies jostling for room in the nest conveniently perched in the magnolia, she'd been at it for weeks. I wearily saluted her and trudged toward the nearest diaper changing station. The nest has been a fun teaching tool. Harlow and I have sat on the porch and watched mama and daddy Robin (he of the more brightly colored orange breast) dutifully zigzagging the yard in pursuit of baby food. I watched the nest long after Harlow returned to her gardening and gravel road building (my own little corps of engineers). The babies were so impossibly big in that nest but so strangely quiet, casually holding their beaks wide in expectation but what - already too bored to make a fuss about it? Spoiled from the constant on demand delivery?
I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised but I was startled to step outside the other day and find the nest empty. Babies had flown the coop. But that didn't stop Mama (Daddy? The orange breast was ragged and dirty from the torrential rains and mud) from returning to the nest with more offerings. I am knocked sideways from sleep deprivation and a witches brew of hormones so I am about as vulnerable as my newborn, but that was the saddest thing I had ever seen. Well into the afternoon the robin continued the search for food, perching on that empty nest for a long beat before setting off on yet another fool's errand.
I gathered up Harlow and kissed her until she swatted me away. The days are long but the years fly by. I shall tattoo it on my eyelids.