I dropped my oldest off at her first ever high school volleyball camp this morning. It seemed so ordinary when we signed up. Just another thing on our to-do list in a this- is-just one-of-the-places-one-of-the-kids-has-to-be kind of way.

I went in with her to make sure we were in the right place and to make sure she didn’t need any other forms, equipment, info that she didn’t already have. All good. All paid. All set and off I went.

Back at the car I spotted a baby mockingbird on the black top, still alive – dropped, pushed or perhaps fallen from its nest. Big enough to leave the nest but not quite big enough to fly. I picked the little guy up, checked for injury then placed him safely on the grass. The mother flew at me in a threatening way, squawking, then landed quietly on a nearby branch, realizing either that I was more than she could take on or that I was safe enough and meant no harm.  

I stood by for a minute watching the communication between the two birds, a little frantic at moments as the mom squawked, then calm and concerned at others as the mother flew circles around the baby. Sensing that all was well, I opened the car door slowly, slid into my seat and burst into tears. For several minutes I cried big heaving sobbing tears – the kind of tears that feel like when you’re finished you’ll land in a whole new dimension of yourself.

My little fledgling was on her way. Stretching her wings, one more step out of our house and into the big giant world that some days feels like more than I can take on and other days seems full of tender love and beauty. I looked around and trusted she would be fine and consciously resisted the urge to swoop down upon her.

Before I drove off, I called my mom. We talked for a while and she helped me wipe my tears from afar. She told me that for sure we’d have some ups and downs these next few years “But then, for the rest of your lives, you’ll have a woman who is your friend,” she said. “And that is the luckiest thing in the world.” 

So there’s that. Which is nice to think about. And definitely comes from one who knows!