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Time to Fly

By Pam Molnar

Dear Little Bird,

As I sit here, I can see you standing at the edge of our nest, peering down into the vast world that awaits you and my only thought is, “What if I pushed him?” That’s right. I said it. Pushed him.

Oh, don’t look so surprised. Many mother birds with teenagers feel the same way. I’m just saying it out loud. Baby birds have a sense of entitlement like no other creature. You lay around the nest all day waiting for my return with today’s catch. When I am home, you snuggle under my warm wing while I face the pelting rain and wind.

Do you realize how hard I work to bring home a well-balanced meal to a picky eater? We are not ducks, you know. People are not just throwing bread to us. Your father and I have to work for our food.

All I hear are complaints. “Worms again? Why don’t you bring home any grasshoppers?” I’ll tell you why. The grasshoppers are harder to find. They hide in tall grasses. I’m not going in there. If something happened to me, you would have to fend for yourself.

I know you think you are ready, but you are not. Have you even practiced flapping your wings on your own? When your scores at flying school were low, your father and I paid for you to have a private tutor. Yet you are still falling behind on your flying ability.

Do you know what happens to birds that can’t fly? They crash into windows and get caught in garages. Do you remember what happened to the Robins? They built their nest in the Dogwood bush so their sons wouldn’t be too high off the ground for their first solo flight. The boys didn’t think they needed to practice and fell to the ground during their first attempt. I don’t even think they saw that Labrador coming.

And flying is just a part of it. How do you plan to feed yourself? Mrs. Bluebird told me that her son Jay brought home some Japanese Beetles that were sitting on the leaves outside of their nest. Now that’s what I am talking about. He can’t fly yet, but he is still able to find something to eat. How is that possible? Ingenuity. It’s something you are lacking.

You are too busy chirping to your friends across the park. Yeah, I hear you. Practicing that high pitched mating call and boasting about finding a big breasted chick. What woman in her right mind is going to want to lay her eggs in her mother-in-law’s nest? No chick worth having, I’ll tell you. If you want to get the attention of the girls in the oak tree, you better start listening to what I am saying.

Don’t get your feathers ruffled. We understand. We want you to leave this nest as much as you do. You are growing too big and eating us out of nest and tree. We love you, spend our time protecting you and teaching you everything we know. But now it is time for you to apply what you have learned. Find your own bugs, make your own home, stay away from the wrong side of the food chain and you will do fine. But please hurry up. Your father and I are headed to our nest in Florida this winter and there is only room for two. 

Love, Mom

Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three teenagers. She is fluent in sarcasm, can decipher mumbled words and can halt procrastination with a single eyebrow raise.