Not Even a Feather
Not Even a Feather
Backing out of the garage, I check the big rock that we laid down to protect the killdeer eggs. “Oh no, where are they and where is she?” Franticly, I throw the truck into park and jump out. There is nothing left behind the rock but a tiny indentation where the perfect little eggs had been tended to by their mom. Not even a feather. “They can’t just disappear! I guess they can.” I bend over to touch the little gravelly nursery and am surprised how rough and cold the stones are. That poor bird worked so hard to keep those baby bird eggs safe. She just wanted to give them the best chance that she possibly could. That kind of devotion doesn’t come along every day. It’s so lonely being on high alert when it seems some people get to go to bed at night and just assume that all will be well in the morning. Poor little thing probably stayed awake all night trying to keep her eggs safe!
I could’ve told her that it doesn’t matter how much we stay awake or diligently on guard…it doesn’t always work. You just end out exhausted…exhausted. Strange as it seems, we really don’t have much control as we “flap our wings” and take on the world. Other people don’t seem to have to work so hard to raise and keep their children. “Okay, deep breath Deb, you are not a bird.” I sure do talk to myself a lot lately, but it seems safer than telling people that I went into a crying fit because some lowly bird eggs and their Mama are missing! Yikes, I scare myself sometimes.
When we saw her flailing wings and heard her squawks a few weeks ago it took two of us to finally spot four perfect eggs. For weeks we watched her sit during ninety degree days, forty degree nights, high winds, heavy rain and even thunder storms. It seemed she’d blow away as the wind whipped around her… but still she sat. There was a perfect view through the front window to see her chewing out other birds, squirrels, the mail carrier and anything that dared to come near her precious eggs.
I wonder if I did everything I could’ve to save Brian…he took all of my energy, time and love. I really would try it again but that’s not a choice I get to have. Maybe if I’d moved him in with us and monitored him really, really closely… I still wonder what would’ve happened if he’d gone to live in a group home with more supervision. Possibly, that would’ve been the perfect situation to get him back on track. Maybe, just maybe if he could’ve stayed at the VA hospital for, like a whole year, the routine would’ve retrained him to…to what? To not overdose, to not seek drugs when he had lost control over that part of his brain or maybe to stop having seizures that racked his body like an internal earth quake? I guess no one has that kind of control over someone else. No, not even a mother who felt that being his mom was who she was meant to be. A love so intense that it could physically hurt!
I was probably overly-protective when he was a little boy but I wanted to do it right and to watch him grow to be happy. I absolutely loved being his Mom. When Brian left for basic training ten days before his eighteenth birthday I held my breath. I tried not to let my anxiety and worry seep into him but he knew me so well.
“Mom, what’s wrong, you don’t sound happy? Come on, you can tell me. Is Dad okay? You’re not sick are you? Maybe you could use one of those power naps you’re so good at! Yeah, that’s probably what you need! Gotta go, I love you, Mama.”
These phone calls made me work even harder to keep my voice cheerful so that he wasn’t distracted going into combat. Sometimes it feels like, as I look back, every breath and action I took were to protect him. Oh, maybe I was too protective and he didn’t learn to fend for himself. No, I think Moms just do that. My Mom did.
Heading out one last time to check for any sign of the killdeer or her precious, perfect little eggs I sit down on the rock that we thought would protect the little family. It can all go away with no warning. You don’t have to see or hear anything and it’s all just gone. It really makes no sense that something that loved, protected and nurtured can just…poof. Even if I understood how it could happen; I am still stumped about why? Little birds should not be gone. Brian should still be calling.