# empty nest

I don’t have a Twitter account. But if I did, tonight I would have tweeted the following:
Watching the Martins downtown Omaha #empty nest”

Its double meaning reflects the parallels I have been seeing all summer between our nesting martins and our then almost “out of the nest” children.

For 15 years we have been trying to entice the elusive purple martins into our backyard. We have provided them a choice of Martin homes, we strategically dotted the base of the Martin pole with straw and other items that might be useful in building a cozy nest for their babies, and we even dressed up in martin costumes and did bird calls to attract them. (We didn’t really do the last one.) All to no avail. No martins.

We were close to success seven years ago. A sweet young martin couple built their nest, hatched a few babies, but unfortunately the fledglings didn’t thrive. The Martins left, and they didn’t return. That is, they didn’t return till THIS year!

Yes, this was the year we FINALLY were able to observe a young Martin pair in our back yard! We were able to watch the whole process, including their lovely flight patterns as they swooped, rose and dove around the little home we had prepared for them.

We watched them build the nest, and then keep their eggs warm. Soon mom and dad were leisurely in and out of the house feeding their fuzzy little young. It was very sweet to watch. As the summer went on, their efforts seemed to increase. And the last three weeks before their brood took flight, it was ALL OUT EFFORT for these two-winged parents. There was a constant flight pattern to the food sources and back to the open-beaked babies waiting for their nourishment. We would see, one, two, three and EVEN four heads pop out expectantly waiting for that next meal. And those babies got bolder and braver. They would walk to the edge of the house. Jump on the top. Not yet flying with their parents, but daring them to push them back into that safe little doorway.

And so it goes with our brood. As I said, parallels abound. A beautiful, wonderful summer, full of God’s blessings and celebrations, but it took an all out effort from this mom and her husband. There was a bit of stepping out on the edge and pushing limits (from them and from us), at times pushing back into the safety of the doorway, and my husband and I made an awful lot of back and forth trips to food sources. And what we wanted to happen, happened, they got braver and bolder.

Our martin babies fledged. We observed a large clan seemingly teaching them flight. The patterns are beautiful; they are such graceful birds. And they left.

And our adult children have fledged too, one married, and the last two off to college. Beautiful patterns.

I am reminded of the verses in Matthew that reveal God’s care for us, how valuable we are to Him, how valuable our children are to Him.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you [God’s children] not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:25-26

If only I had Twitter I would probably tweet: No need to worry about any of the fledges. #God’s Plans are Perfect!

Shelli Muldoon

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