Some friends of mine let me use them to practice some maternity shots. D and D are part of my church family and they are expecting their first child any.day.now.
I mean ANY.DAY.NOW. As in, D, how are you doing? Do you want to go the hospital now?
D, the momma-to-be, and I have been talking about some cute shots that I wanted to get. She was excited to help me, and her and poppa-to-be were very gracious and patient.
I had fun with them.
And I had fun remembering what it was like to be young. And in love. And expecting your first child.
As I was shooting this sweet couple, I kept remembering my own days of pregnancy, and preparation, and impending childbirth.
Excitement, a little trepidation, and a whole lot of uncomfortableness during those last few days is what I remember.
Knowing that your life is never going to be same again, because that's what people keep telling you, but not really understanding what that means.
Not understanding that motherhood was going to mean a lot of sleepless nights.
Nights spent feeding a newborn bundle of love, and nights spent sitting in a rocking chair comforting a sick toddler.
Nights spent getting up every hour to awaken a preteen that has a concussion from getting hit on his head by a baseball, and nights spent waiting for a teenager to drive in the yard after a night out with her friends.
A lot of sleepless nights.
And a lot of uncertainty.
Not understanding that you would have to watch your child do hard things. Things that might make them cry.
Like get on a school bus for the first time. And watch you out the window while the bus drives away.
Or try out for a softball team. And not make it.
Like wait while they take a driver's test. And not pass it.
Or watch them find out that sometimes life really isn't fair.
It's hard being a parent. It's hard letting them fly out of the nest on their own.
We have a birdhouse on a shelf on the side of the barn outside our back door. And twice this year, we've had momma birds nest in there.
When momma sparrow (at least I think these are sparrows) was feeding her little ones, I was able to get pretty close to this little guy to get some good shots.
After momma flew away.
She wouldn't let me this close to her babies. She kept warning me off when I would get too close.
He's a brave one, this wee little one. He watched me very carefully but only retreated back into the nest when I got within three feet of him.
One of these little ones fell out of the nest over the weekend.
I was sitting on the back porch, watching momma feed them, when she flew off to look for more food.
I glanced away for a moment, and when I looked back, I saw a tiny fluttering at the bottom of the bird house, on the shelf. I walked over to see what it was and found a teeny, tiny baby bird fluttering on the shelf.
It had no feathers, and its head was so large that it couldn't pick it up off the shelf and just kept flopping and fluttering its little legs trying to move.
Mrs. C put her hands under the shelf, in case it got too close to the edge, and the Man got a dust pan and a leather glove. He put the dust pan near the baby oh-so-gently and let it flop onto the pan, then lifted it back up to the hole in the house and let it slide slowly back into the nest.
We weren't sure what was going to happen to this little guy, but momma came back with more food and continued to feed them all.
Five days later all three babies are doing just fine.
I find myself surrounded by new birth, and new motherhood, right now. While I'm enjoying watching these sweet little baby birds learn to leave their nest, it's also reminding me that my own "little" ones are getting ready to leave my nest.
And so I'm praying that when J and K find themselves in distress, flopping and fluttering around on the brink of danger, a kind, gentle hand will be there to help them back into their nest.
A gentle helping hand. That's what we all need sometimes.