Dear Mama Bird…

Dear mama bird,

It’s been a long day, huh?

Your babies were up with the sun. I heard them, outside my window, twittering like little pint-sized alarm clocks. I don’t speak your language, but I understood what they were squalling: “Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!”

It’s the universal cry all mothers know, especially in the wee hours of the morning.

I peered out the window then, wondering how you would react from your perch on a nearby branch. Would you exhale and sink into your your feathers, try to conjure up a few more minutes of rest? It was Saturday morning, after all, the weekend. But no, swiftly, deftly, and with not one scolding chirp, you flitted over to the nest, shiny dragonfly in your beak, and ducked inside.

And then—oh my!—did those little ones go crazy. I can’t see them in there, you’ve so snugly tucked them away inside your birdhouse, but I can imagine the scene. Two, maybe three little beaks straining towards you, clamoring in anxious excitement, probably stepping all over each other. One of them snatched it up (the firstborn?!), causing the others to squawk their indignant fit. You deflate ever so slightly. How silly to think they’d share such a bounty.

You reappear at the window, cast a furtive glance this way and that, and dart back to the dewey grass, searching for another bit of breakfast. Success. Again, you hurry over to your babies, bug in beak, and are greeted with same reaction (and, I’d venture to guess, not even so much as a “thank you.”).

How many times do you perform this same scripted dance today? If only we could lock eyes, I think a moment of understanding would pass between us, across the species. We mothers of young children are all pretty much the same. Feathered or friend, we exist to care for our little ones. When they’re tiny and helpless, with so much yet to learn about the world and how to find their place in it, we are their constant. We comfort when they cry. We nourish when they need. We encourage. Protect. Satisfy.

Then, all too quickly, they grow. They peek their heads out of that window, realize the world is one giant adventure that awaits—and they’re off, spreading their wings and soaring on the love you’ve so freely given.

I’m sure you’ll be nearby, perched on that branch, swelling with pride that’s tinged with sadness. It’s the universal cry of a mother’s heart, dear mama, and I’m right there with you.

This post originally appeared on Bison Booties

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