In early spring, a robin built her nest in the holly bush right next to my front steps. There she raised two clutches of eggs-six babies in all. I watched as she diligently cared for them. This was a summer of letting go, for mother robin and for me. As a parent, there are multiple times when you have to let go. Some times are easier than others.
She tirelessly brought them food and protected them when she felt threatened by our coming and going. The babies grew and flourished under her watchful eye until the nest could hardly contain them. At last, the day came when she taught them how to fly, knowing they were ready to go out into the world on their own. They stood on the railing of our steps and launched themselves into the air. Sometimes it took several attempts and wings fluttered and flailed. The mother robin gave encouraging chirps as they took flight.
Once again, I let each of my children take flight from the farm this summer. All still seeking higher education in fancy universities, where the number of students far exceed the number of people that live in our little town, they packed their bags and books. So I find my nest empty and my normal rhythms disrupted. In time, the quiet and emptiness will become normal and the dog and I will find a new routine.