Children

Empty Nest

All of a sudden, the nest is empty. The birds have gone, and what had been a constant blur of activity is now nothing more than a few discarded feathers. – Marci Seither

Empty Nest ©Nissa Gadbois

Empty Nest ©Nissa Gadbois

And just like that, they’re gone.  The nest is empty.  I wasn’t prepared for how sad I felt at seeing this beautiful little avian home bereft of life.  I think about how lonely it is for those older folks who perhaps never married, were unable to have children, or whose children, for whatever reason, are not close to their parents physically or emotionally.  

How blessed we are to have a full retinue of children ranging from toddler to adult!  How grateful I am for the courage – and ability – to have said YES to life.  Our nest will never be empty.  It will be full of colour and song for as long as we live, God willing.

Fledgelings

My heart wants to beat like the wings of the birds that rise from the lake to the trees – The Sound of Music

Robin Fledgelings ©Nissa Gadbois

Robin Fledgelings ©Nissa Gadbois

Robin Fledgelings ©Nissa Gadbois

I walked up to the nest to see how our little robin chicks were doing.  As usual, Mama Robin was perched in a nearby branch, watching and talking.  I said good morning and walked to the rake to discover just one little fledgling left to try his wings.  He looked up at me with a face that looked a little forlorn.  I gave him some encouragement, told him he could do it because the rest of his siblings had gone.  Down below him in the tall grass was one of them.  He lifted his head and opened his mouth wide, as if he was expecting me to have a snack.  “No, little bird.  It’s time for you to fend for yourself.”

It’s so much like letting my own grown children go.  At some point, they have to try making their own way, looking after themselves.  They need to see what they can do.  It is so frightening, so difficult to let them go.  But when you see them spread their wings and fly, it is breathtaking.  They may falter a bit and wobble.  They may go a different way than you taught them to go, but they’re flying.  And if you love them – and if they know that you love them – they’ll return to the nest with gifts of their own.

One Father

One father is more than a hundred Schoolmasters.  — George Herbert, 1640

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois  ©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

How blessed our children are to have him.  Even in small ways, he teaches them how to love.  He gets them started, offers advice, encouragement, and help when they are ‘stuck’.  And then instills confidence by letting them carry on without him.  Would that every child had such a father.  He is truly worth more than a thousand schoolmasters.  What he teaches is goodness, kindness, and love.

A flower in your hand

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.  – Georgia O’Keefe
 
Last Friday, I took the children to the Bridge of Flowers, spanning the Deerfield River between the villages of Shelburne Falls and Buckland.  Unprompted, the children gathered up pencils and notebooks to record what they saw.  It was a small thing, but made my teacher heart swell.  Something tells me that Charlotte Mason would have been very pleased.
 
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Someone discovered the fountain:
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois  Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois  
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
 
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
 
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Bridge of Flowers © Nissa Gadbois
Flower gardens are good for the soul.  We are all dreaming together now of the one we will have here on the farm.

Friends

and Friendship must be about something, even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travellers.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

dominoes

Play mends hearts… knits them together.  I love watching our children play together, especially with their two new siblings.  They have done more in their innocence to bond N and O to our family than all the grown-ups with their supposed wisdom and education in the wide world.

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