Saturday, May 07, 2005


At our house we noticed something a little odd here on Mother's Day weekend. In the window box outside my son's bedroom, a robin has built a nest and laid four baby blue eggs inside. I've got to question the judgment of the mother-to-be. Sure we have three cats who patrol our yard, ready to play Wild Kingdom at the drop of a hat and this robin has picked a place where the felines can't reach. But at what a cost? The nest is dirctly outside the window of my noisiest child -- eleven years old who runs almost constantly at full throttle and full volume. I'm sure when it was nest building time, it may have seemed like a good idea. After all, the windows were closed. Maybe an occasional shadow to frighten a nesting mother, but it probably didn't seem too threatening. Today though, the windows are open, the kids are out of school and Mama Robin must wait for a while for the kids to go to the back yard or for the boy to go to baseball practice just for a little peace and quiet.

Is she regretting her location decision now? All I know is that when I have passed by the room in the hall, I could see a very nervous nesting bird with eyes wide-open. She's built the nest, she's laid the eggs. Now she's going to stick it out until the end. Hopefully soon, our kids can have a "birds-eye view" of the hatchlings and be able to watch the young birds being cared for by the new mother. Hopefully, Mama Robin won't "chicken out" and abandon the eggs because of all the eleven year-old boy noise.

I've never known a first-time mother to have all the answers. I've known a few who thought they knew it all, only to find out how lacking they actually were. A soon-to-be mother will quite likely make decisions they will later regret. Maybe it's the color of the nursery walls. Perhaps Mom will decide on a name which just seems ridiculous a few years later. I had relatives with the last name "Nichols" who thought it was a good idea to name their daughter Penny. That's right -- Penny Nichols. Hey, nobody gets it right every time.

I remember being a first time dad-to-be. I actually was a first-timer twice. The first time, our son died 17 1/2 hours after his birth. All the nervousness my wife and I had the first time was multiplied exponentially the second first time. We weren't just careful about everything, we were overly cautious. I pushed my wife around places in a wheelchair just to be sure she didn't exert herself. We didn't want the second pregnancy to turn out like the first.

Even when our son was born healthy and happy, I still second guessed every decision for a while. He had a bad case of jaundice which caused him to spend five of his first seven days in this world in a pediatric suntan booth. When we finally got him home for good, my nerves were shot. I didn't know what to expect next. My wife knew better, but still we wondered if we were really making the right decisions.

And considering all the times we messed up, he has turned out remarkably well. He's survived an attack by a swarm of bees, running his arms through a glass window at a dead run, breaking his wrist in a playground accident and all kinds of scrapes and scratches. He's survived not only his own bad decisions, but those of his parents' as well.

We don't know the answers. Especially as parents. So Mama Robin sitting on her four precious eggs in my son's window box may do just fine after all. I'm sure she's watching out for those precious babies inside -- it's instinct for her. And perhaps the little birds will enjoy being serenaded by the sound of vicious battles on PlayStation 2, who knows? I have my own opinion that a nest in that window box is a bad idea, and I base that on my knowledge of what goes on in that room. Of course God knows if my decisions are good ones or bad ones because He knows all about this world.

My trust is not in myself, for I certainly know better than that. I'm fallible. Probably more fallible than most. My trust is in my Creator; the One who formed me and directs me, whether I bother to listen to Him or not. And as I think this evening about all the mothers and all the moms-to-be wondering what will happen next, I ask God to bless them, comfort them, and give them the good sense to listen to His direction. After all, who knows what to expect? Only the One who can use even the bad times for good.

Happy Mother's Day.

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