Bald Eagles in a tree, parent and fledgling ready to fly.
The bald eagle raises its young in very tall trees. When the fledglings grow they start jumping from one limb to another. Then one day, the parent eagle pushes them out of the tree, they have to learn to fly. While the young eagle is learning to fly, they also start learning to hunt for food. I have seen parent eagles take their young to the lake. The eagle float above the water, then dives, totally submersed below the surface, only through violent splashes of wings gains altitude with a fish in its claws. To a tree branch with their meal, only the parent eagles no longer share with the young, the young must learn to hunt. After several clumsy dives and resurfacing, the young eagles have a fish. They have successfully hunted.
I love motherhood. I would be so excited discovering I was pregnant. This little person developing and growing inside, totally dependent on me, and we are totally connected. I would have what my doctor and I called the “pregnancy flu” as morning sickness was all day and all night for twelve weeks. Then smooth sailing until about month 7 or 8 when their constant “rumbles” would make my ribcage sore. But I truly love being a mother.
Then the day would come, I would go into labor. I choose to deliver without any pain medications at all, nothing. I am over sensitive to medications, any type of pain relief puts me to sleep. I wanted to be awake for the birth of my baby. With each contraction I was one contraction closer to seeing the eyes of the little one I have been cherishing for nine months. Yes, that was my focus during labor.
I would say nothing during the labor, except “I think it is time to push.” My doctor did not like “silent mothers” as he could not tell how close the birth was without examining. He did not like to disturb a mother in labor, unless he had to. When I would say, ” I think it is time to push.” he would get ready to catch the baby. Once the baby was delivered, the doctor placed he or she directly into my arms, “Good job mom, now clean him or her up.” No nurses touched my babies first, I had the joy of being the first person my little one’s eyes saw, the first one to touch and clean them up. The greatest joy and most precious memory is looking into my child’s eyes for the very first time.
They were no longer totally connected to me. Although they were dependent for food and care, they were now in the world and separated from the warmth and protection my body gave them. I had to let go a tiny bit, so they could learn to fly.
I am amused and giggle when I hear a first time parent say, ” I can’t wait for little Sally to learn to walk.” I tell them to cherish the time they are not mobile, as that is the easiest stage of life, you can find them. But babies grow and soon they are mobile, first crawling, then walking and running. I had to search for my busy little children. They loved to learn and explore, as well play their favorite game, hide and make mom seek. I had to let go a little bit more, so they could learn to fly.
When they started kindergarten, I cried for a week. In a blink of an eye they were going to school. Where had the time gone? They were excited going to school, meeting new friends and learning. I had to reluctantly let go some more, so they could learn to fly.
Then came basketball games, volleyball games, band concerts, choir performances and theater productions. Trips won by art contests. A flurry of excitement, and the starting of dating, loves and heart break. With four children, I felt more like a taxi driver than a parent. They spent more time with their interests than they spent with me. Still I had to let go of them a little more, seemed I did not have much left to hold onto, but they needed to learn to fly.
Graduation, when did they get that old? The time flew by making the years feel like a few days. Off to college or starting a life of their own. I had to fight myself to let them totally go, as they had learned to fly. Where they soar to is their choice, their destination and their destiny.
As parents, we have a few short years to guide and teach our children to make wise and good choices. Each accomplishment we celebrate with joy, but we also are letting go a little more, as they are learning to fly.
All my children have flown. We are still connected by heart bond, so I am not totally alone. I now watch as my children learn to let their children go, as my grandchildren learn to fly.