Empty Nests

Baby birds have left the building

The baby birds have left the building.

I have been watching a nest full of baby birds this summer.

When I first arrived here in Maine, the nest was active (mom and dad were flying in and out) but I couldn’t see anything in the nest. After a few weeks, the tippety tops of baby heads were visible. In the last week or so the nest has been very full of four little birds who would huddle in the nest together and stare back at me when I peeked out from our bedroom window.

I tried on several occasions to get a decent photograph of the babies in the nest but mom and dad would dive-bomb me and I didn’t dare spend enough time to take said picture.

So, the best thing that I can do is report that the the babies have all fledged as of yesterday morning. The first baby flew into the living room window. Fortunately, not hard enough to harm him or her. Just enough to perhaps stun it for a little while – it sat on the sill for a few minutes before flying off with mom and dad. The last baby fledged (left the nest) yesterday morning. And they haven’t come back. I keep checking the nest. It’s still empty.

My statement to myself was, “The empty nest is a little bit sad” (or something like that) and I realized that it’s true in our house today. Once again  … our nest is empty and we’re a little bit sad this morning.

I was so lucky to have been a full-time stay-at-home mom and as my kids grew up and went on their ways (as they should), it was sad. They are all full-fledged (coincidence?) adults now and they’re happy and productive and I am so proud of them. I’m proud of myself, too. My job was to raise them to be decent human beings and then let them go to build a life of their own making. It’s not easy letting them go. There were (and still are) times when I can get very sad but I love it when we get to visit.

But time flies so quickly. And, today, no longer having my daughter and her boyfriend and little pup in the house, I’m a little bit sad. And I know that they are a little bit sad, too, as they start their long journey back to Chicago. It was a fun visit and we built some new memories. Double-fisted drinking, “binocularing”, sighting a family of loons with two babies, listening to the loons, hearing the osprey overhead, slapping mosquitoes, and sharing this beautiful place that we are so fortunate to enjoy.

It’s good that I can feel sadness because it means that I’ve felt joy. And I’ve had a lot of joy.

Gone knitting.

Farewell, Faithful Companion

Max, Faithful Companion, in 2007

Max, my boyfriend’s dog, is old. He’s had Cushing’s Disease for the last three years and probably has an inoperable pituitary tumor in addition. Until recently, the medications prescribed have managed the Cushing’s symptoms and Max has been able to lead a happy (tail-wagging) life.

This summer has been different. He’s not even interested in going outside. He’s fallen off the front porch and rolled off the “sea wall” and into the lake. He struggles to get up when he’s been lying down. N has to carry him to the lake to cool him off and often carries him outside to do his business. He still loves to eat but isn’t as happy to chase a ball or a stick and seems to have a vacant stare most of the time. All night long he does circles. Circling and circling as if he’s going to settle down … but he doesn’t. Even a double dose of Valium doesn’t take the edge off for him.

N has given him a great life! He’s been on many a long ride in the car and loved to ride on the boat, ears flapping in the breeze. He loved to wander off and get into the neighbors’ garbage (and come home bloated with a full belly). He has several warm and comfy beds around the house, unlimited water, excellent food, lots of love, and millions of thrown balls and sticks. He had many a nap on the couch, ball in mouth.

He’s been an intrepid companion, a faithful friend.

Max and the Annoying Littles

Car Ride 2009

Playing the Ball Game in 2008

Death is the natural end to a good life. N has decided that it is time. It’s time to let Max be free from the creaky old body that doesn’t provide a good quality of life any more.

Ned has dug the hole where we’ll bury Max. He’ll be put to sleep here in Maine at home. Max is comfortable here and this place is a constant comfort for N, too.

This is a very sad time. Farewell, faithful friend. We’ll see you again in Heaven.

Gone knitting.