For 18 or so years we keep our children safe–all the while strengthening their wings and slowly teaching them to fly. Finally the day draws near when they are ready to leave our nests and fly away on their own.
Suddenly, in the beat of a wing, the core focus of our lives is taken away from us. It is terribly tempting to tightly lock the door to the birdcage, keeping our vulnerable fledglings safe under within our care.
Yet, a caged bird will not sing. We know we must let them fly away. There’s the saying that “if you love something, let it go free. If it loves you, it will come back.” Usually, our children come back. Yet we know deep that things will never really be the same. Our nests are forever changed.
I created this art, featured at Alpha Stamps, as testimony to the experience so many of my friends are going through–the bittersweet experience of seeing children leave for college or another adventure. The cage, which I made from paper mache, is lined with “bird advice” a mother might say to her children.
As parents, we love our baby birds with all our hearts. They are the recipients of our intense focus for years as we do everything we can to keep them from harm and teach them ways to have fulfilling lives.
Letting go is scary. Besides the fact that something bad could happen to our babies and we will not be there to keep them safe, there is also the rare possibility that once we let go they may not return. I watched a friend suffer immense heartbreak when her angry and troubled son stayed away for several years.
Sometimes, you expand your nests to take in other baby birds in need of a home. Several years ago we made room in our nest and hearts for a young bird from another home. After living with us for years, we thought this chick would be a part of our forever family and always return for visits. Yet, as soon as this chick flew away, it was gone forever, never to return or even look back. The loss–even when they do not hatch from our eggs–can still hurt.
My children are in their teens, which means many of their peers are flying from their nests.Their mothers–who flocked together for years at after school sports, school fundraisers and more–are my friends. All around me, I see these friends experiencing that bittersweet moment of opening the birdcage door so they can let their children begin to soar.
It may be my children pictured in this nest, but this piece of art is for all of you with little birds of your own. You are not alone. Please consider visiting my post at the Alpha Stamps blog and leaving a little comment.
Heavy guage wire
Round box with lid
Acrylic paint: yellow, burnt umber