Have you ever gotten so attached to something, that you didn't realize it... until it was gone?
Our home has a large two-story deck overlooking the back yard, and about a month ago I noticed two robins flitting about one of the deck supports. A quick check on their progress showed me that they had a half-constructed nest on the most unlikely of spots. They chose the support that holds up the portion of deck that juts out from the center of the house, just outside the kitchen and dining room, in plain view of the house. The nest-building site was even more ridiculous considering that it was just inches from our outdoor eating space, and one could easily reach through the deck rail and touch the nest. Considering that the kids were in school in the first days of nest building, and that the weather had been unseasonably cold and kept my little screaming banshees indoors most of the time, and not believing that a pair of robins can be so dim-witted, I figured that they would give up their efforts once the weekend rolled around. You see, at that point, these poor, unaware creatures would probably realize the error of their new home building efforts and move to more peaceful surroundings.
Guess not. They even used some of the stray bits of toilet paper still clinging to our tree tops (have I told you I have a teenage daughter? Our house is often festooned with toilet paper. It's lovely.)
It didn't take long for the three perfect little eggs to arrive. The color is such an amazing shade of blue. Whenever the Momma bird left the nest I would tiptoe out and peer down to check on the progress. I had already laid down the law about the nest: no one goes out on the back deck without me. I didn't want the kids' curiosity to cause the birds to abandon the nest once they'd laid the eggs, so I vigilantly appointed myself as security for these poor defenseless creatures. I probably didn't need to be so protective. On the occasions when my husband would stand out on the deck and grill, the robins spent the majority of time dive-bombing him. I guess they're not as helpless as I thought, and certainly not willing to abandon their nest so easily.
Eventually the eggs hatched, one the first day, and the other two the next. They were so tiny! The weather was still so chilly, I just wanted to get a little sweater for them when their Mom headed out for something to eat. I have to hand it to my kids. Not a single one touched the nest, or the eggs, or the babies. They surprised me in their restraint, and I'm so proud of my little nature-lovers. Okay, enough of my punks. Back to the babies.
They grew so fast, it was absolutely necessary that I check on them several times a day. If I didn't, I might miss something, you know? Like how their itty bitty wing feathers were the first to appear, then suddenly they went from white fluffy nakedness to tiny feathered robins. Complete with red breasts. Oh my, I could've just melted. The parents got pretty tired of my visits, and began to ignore me when I'd come out for pictures. If they were away from the nest, I'd usually get a scolding when the robin came back and found me leaning over the deck rail. But it was generally half-hearted, I guess they figured their nosey neighbor could have been worse. Note the hairy eyeball I'm receiving from the Mom above, with two babies squashed beneath her.
It all came to an end so unexpectedly. I wasn't prepared. How could they do that to me? My two youngest girls asked to go out and see the birds, and I'd noticed that the babies had been standing up quite a bit in their nest, stretching their legs when Mom and Dad were away. As we leaned over to get a clear view of them, rather than hunkering down as they usually did, two of the babies just burst out of the nest and flew up and away, across the yard into the trees. Oh... My.... Goodness! My babies flew away! The last one left within 15 minutes. They were all gone. Grown up and left without so much as a backwards look at me. Don't they know how much I'd miss them? Don't they know how much time I'd spent watching them and how attached I was to them? Kids. Yeesh!