Saturday, May 8, 2010
nests: beginnings and endings
Yesterday was the end of my son's second year of college. It seems like a few minutes ago he was born, a few seconds later, he was a little social creature with thoughts and opinions of his own, another moment or so, and he was off to school, and now, he's a man well on the way to carving out a self sufficient life of his own. It's mind boggling.
The journey for the past 21 years or so has been peppered with bittersweet memories of exciting new phases, inevitably ending at some point, only to make way for another phase. Each moment sets the tone and prepares us for the next one. I remember the first time I really examined my son's feet...he was about 2 days old...and I mean I really checked them out. They were so perfect: soft, squishy, round, sweet new-baby smelling, virginal feet. They'd never stepped on dirt or gotten a cut or a splinter or had socks or shoes on them. They were just little perfect feet. Before long, these feet were wearing cleats and they were running and kicking balls and getting bruised and dirty and occasionally getting a stubbed toe here and there. They were fast feet...winning races and soccer games. Now these feet are attached to a man...a 6' 2" tall, handsome, academic, athletic, focused, driven, intelligent man. We are connected and always will be...though he often disagrees with me and sometimes acts as if he doesn't like me too much....I'm accepting of all of it. Our children are supposed to separate from their parents eventually, and I see this more and more with the passing of each school semester, each season, each moment.
A couple of weeks ago I noticed a little nest outside my front door in the rhododendron bush. A week later, I saw four beautiful bright blue eggs. Another week later and the eggs had hatched, leaving in their place four little baby robins. The eggs were so amazing and perfect, I didn't want them to ever change; though of course I knew this phase would not last forever. And sure enough, while the eggs are now gone, the growing baby birds are a phase that leaves me with excitement each day as I carefully examine them with amazement and awe. At first they barely seemed alive, and now, only a few days later, they are active and hungry. I know in the next few days, their eyes will begin to open and they'll start chirping and being more birdlike. Before I know it, they'll be flying on their own and making nests for themselves. Bittersweet.
Most of have heard the proverb, "All good things must come to an end," based on Chaucer's 1374 proverb: "There is an end to everything, to good things as well." Perhaps this is true; however, I prefer to subscribe to the belief that with each ending, a new beginning is possible.
While I loved being the mom of a newborn (and a grandmom to my little grandbirdies!), I know that these moments will eventually phase out to make space for new ones...my son will one day be completely on his own, possibly in another city or state or even another country. And the baby birds will be flying away to unknown destinations to make a life for themselves. Their mother and I will both be left with empty nests and lives that will be forever changed.
Yes, perhaps all good things come to an end. But it doesn't mean it's no longer a good thing...it only means there are other things in the horizon. Perhaps this is one reason I am so grateful for yoga. Each breath, each asana, each moment, prepares me for the next one...and the next...and the next...and so on. It provides me with a way to be less attached to the outcome and more in the moment. It shows me the joy of the process and the work and helps me to surrender the results. It gives me some peace around the fact that all things...good, bad, or indifferent...eventually end. It's a circle. A cycle.
Only a short time ago, the yard was popping with bright yellow forsythia, pink and white dogwoods, purple redbud blooms...today these blooms have died off, only to make way for the roses, peonies, and hydrangeas. Soon, the turtle heads, daylilies and gardenias will be popping. One ending only means a new beginning is in the making.
In a couple of weeks, as the baby birds are more than likely beginning to fly, my son will be flying too...off to study abroad in Spain, and then on a trip around Europe before fall semester marks the start of his junior year in college. Today I take great comfort that my son is home...safe, content and in the next room...and that the birds' nest is full and alive with a healthy and active mama and babies. I also take comfort in the fact that I can enjoy these moments with a sense of bliss and embrace the changes as each moment prepares me for the next one..and the next one...and so on....all I have to do is breathe, release...repeat.