A momma bird has nested in a hanging flower basket on my front porch. She's been there over a week, quietly sitting guard over her little soon-to-be brood.
She picked a busy week for this. The weather has been beautiful, so we've spent most of our evenings this week doing yard work all around her. Hubs has been cleaning gutters directly abover her, and I've been tilling in the flower bed right below. My kids, re-introducing themselves to the joy of warm-weather play, have been sending soccer balls flying all over our yard.
And at first, Momma Bird viewed us skeptically. We were intruders, a source of danger, and there was no mistaking the look in her beady little eyes as she watched us work. I've tried to reassure her--"your babies are safe," I've explained at least a dozen times. But still, she has watched us constantly, with great alarm.
A few days ago, my mail-order plants arrived for their yearly planting, including the batch I planned to put in the container where she sits. They're not cheap plants. I need to get them planted, as soon as possible. But I've watched that little momma for days now--calm and motionless, vigilant and wary--and I've known in my heart that I won't be doing anything in that container until she's gone.
Because I know what it's like to guard little ones.
To fear for their safety.
To watch the world with suspicion.
In fact, helping her protect her little nest has become somewhat of an obsession with me. I've banished the kids and their flying soccer balls to the neighbor's yard, and I've scolded Hubs more than once for accidentally bumping her planter while working. I've watched the events in the news the last week and felt that momma bird's fear. She worries about high winds and an unusually agile cat; I worry about school shooters and terrorists.
Both of us just want our little ones safe.
This morning, my daughter and I sat out in the porch swing, enjoying the beautiful morning. Corrie sang "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" with enough gusto and drama to wake the dead. I looked up at our little momma bird, in her nest only a few feet away, and I noticed something remarkable.
She wasn't watching me anymore.
I think she trusts me, finally. I guess (at least, I want to believe) that the momma in her recognized the momma in me. I want to think she felt the undercurrent of motherhood camaraderie that even transcends species, as we both work to keep our little chicks safe.
We mommas have to stick together.