At first, I thought the debris strewn all over my front porch came from the gutters, after a soaking spring rain, so I gathered it up and threw it in the trash. But when more debris mysteriously reappeared the next day, it dawned on me that the mess was the building materials for a bird’s nest. This time, I left it alone.
My own building project – total kitchen and bathroom reno – was finally completed and, over the weekend, as I was busily putting my own nest back in order, I kept watch from my living room windows as a robin redbreast built her home on one of my porch pillars.
She’s not a very good housekeeper, I thought, as the unruly nest began to take shape. There was a bit of masking tape and paper weaved into the structure. They use whatever they can find… And the nest wasn’t the perfect little basket I imagined, as much of the dried twigs and loose grasses spilled down the pillar.
Once she took up residence, I felt compelled to keep tabs on the expectant mother. I felt guilty that I’d thrown away her initial attempt at building the nest. Each time I entered or exited my front door, she grew skittish and quickly flew away, only to return minutes later. Now my movements are tentative, and I’m careful with the door. I feel protective of her and of the tiny blue eggs I imagine beneath her.
That robin might not be the impeccable housekeeper that my mom has always been – that she has taught me to be – but she’s guarding those fragile eggs with the fiercest maternal instinct. With Mother’s Day coming, that little bird has me thinking about what it means to be a good mother. It doesn’t matter how neat the house is, or if a mom – especially a harried, working mom – gives her kids PBJ’s for dinner. A good mother gives of her time, she nurtures, and she puts her children’s needs before her own. Her love is boundless.
To all the moms – and especially to my mom – Happy Mother’s Day.
You are truly amazing! XOXOXO