Leaving The Nest
It was symbolism that even a dolt like me--hot, sweaty and bothered--couldn't miss.
As I helped load my daughter's worldly possessions into my not-quite-an-SUV in the late spring heat, I couldn't help but notice the nest tucked under my roof, perched on a downspout right by the front door through which I had lugged all manner of clothes, shoes and the occasional piece of handed-down furniture.
There sat a robin, roasting a batch of newly-laid eggs, watching me repeatedly trudge by, getting sweatier and slower trip by trip.
The bird will see her eldest leave the nest in about two weeks. It took 23 years for her landlord's eldest to accomplish the same task
The excitement of seeing your kid step out on her own is dampened a bit by the realization that there will now be an empty spot at the table. What used to be "her space" is now the family's freshly minted "guest room". No more fights for precious washer/drier time. No more cursing under the breath while tripping over orphaned shoes, laptops, paperbacks or purses. Funny how what once annoys becomes a "quirk" that made them endearing after they leave.
She's not moving far away--15 minutes if I hit all the lights right--and we have more ways than ever to stay connected through the cellphone and the computer. We made it through a whole semester being an ocean apart as she studied in London, and as she made countless trips with skating teams when she was younger. Back then, you always knew she'd be coming home.
Now, home has changed. Hers, and ours.
It's only natural for the young to move out on their own. Parents don't own their kids. We're merely their stewards as they grow up. We're supposed to teach them right from wrong, the consequences that come with bad choices. Mom and Dad pay the bills, bandage the cuts, clean up the puke, comfort the aggrieved. Then, they leave. In our case, our oldest needed 23 years to reach that point.
Dad, though, feels like the robin on the downspout. It seems like it lasted just two weeks.