In early April I discovered a momma robin had made her nest in the pergola over my deck. She had tucked her baby’s home in the corner by my sparkly lights. I checked on her every day. She chattered at me from the nearby tree if I came out when she was not perched on her egg – warning me to go away. Her nest was beautiful and intricate with all of the tree branches woven tight and spare grasses forming a soft cradle. I could not see the egg inside because it was too high up and, the truth is, I felt it was her sacred space so I respected that.
When the April tornado warnings came in, I stressed over how I could secure a board over the pergola to protect her. She and her egg were safe through the storm. Two days later I came home. The empty nest had fallen to the deck floor. I instantly burst into tears.
I cried for all of the hard work she had put into her nest and all of the hard work she endured to keep her baby safe and protected. And I cried for it all being broken. I cried for it being beyond her control. I cried because this is how it feels being a divorced parent. We work so hard building up our nests for our children, making sure our children are protected in every way and then one day a divorce happens and you look around and it all feels broken and it feels like you have failed in protecting your children.
Then it occurred to me that I did not judge this momma robin. I held nothing but compassion in my heart for her and her circumstance. I knew she would mourn the loss of her broken dreams but that her instinct would be to move forward – to fly again, even nest again. I knew instinctively that I should pay heed to the lesson of survival. That I should stop judging myself for being a failure as a mother and appreciate the very fact that I have two healthy, beautiful, alive little girls. That I should pay more attention to my instincts and less attention to my judgments. When I made this slight shift, my spirit perked up, and although I am not quite to soaring, I am at least open now to taking flight.