A busy, pint-sized bird flitted around, peering down at me from the guttering and muttering to herself in soft, high-pitched chirps, while I hung my washing. The little bird brought back her mate later in the morning. They were noisy myna birds and, generally, I discourage myna birds from loitering in my garden. They're noisy and cheeky and very territorial. They'll chase away kookaburras and honey-eaters, even cats and goannas.
The couple was obviously young and looking for a place to build their nest... ﬁrst home buyers, I called them.
And I honestly didn't think they'd return. After all, it was a potted shrub, for goodness sake, placed just outside my bathroom window.. not exactly the best location. But they both seemed to like it and she started work immediately. By mid-morning, she'd built a basic foundation for her nest. It was looking good. The male ﬂittered around inadequately making encouraging noises which she totally disregarded.
Work continued for some time and I went back to my own activities.
I was surprised, a little later, by a noisy altercation outside. The male had obviously brought her a gift, a small contribution to the nest construction. It was a nice gesture. I can understand its appeal. It was a pretty blue scrap of a ribbon. He'd probably searched all morning for just the right interior design accent.
But she was not happy.
I don't know whether she hated the colour or resented his intrusion. Perhaps she would have preferred something of a more practical nature. Maybe he presented the gift with a 'too cavalier' an attitude. Whatever the reason, the ﬁght continued for some time, and then the male retreated to a nearby shrub in a huff.
The offending little ribbon was dropped unceremoniously at the base of the potted plant.
The next interruption hit with the ferocity of a cyclone. It came fast, hard and furious and without any warning. I think it was the in-laws. The air was ﬁlled with shouting and recriminations and, I'm inclined to think, a fair amount of ﬁlthy language though I don't speak bird talk.
The battle continued for some time, and then there was silence.
I peeked outside; the small couple sat in a nearby tree whispering together and looking at their unﬁnished new home. At length, they left. I kept hoping they'd return, but they never have. I just can't bring myself to remove that small nest, begun with such excitement and determination, and destroyed with such acrimonious family discussion.
Now, I don't know anything about nest-building.
I can appreciate that the location of the birds' nest was a little unconventional. But it was under the cover of the house eaves so that was a plus. And my husband loves to feed birds so a constant food source is certainly another positive.
I can't help thinking that there should have been a better way of handling the whole irregular nest building situation.
One of the hardest things to do as a mother or grandmother is to just sit back and let your kids make their own decisions. Now, I'm not saying that we can't voice an opinion when we're asked. And I'm sure that you can delicately drop your pearls of wisdom as needed without ruffling feathers. But as kids get older, grow up, and perhaps leave the nest we have to take a back-seat in decision-making. (I'm sorry.. just couldn't resist the 'bird' metaphors.)
However, you can have an even greater impact on your family through difficult times with patience and encouragement. Did you notice that your kids took time to research a problem before making a decision? Let them know you respect their diligence. Have you seen the care they take ensuring they have all the facts? Tell them. Are there moments when your kids or grandkids show kindness and understanding? Take note and encourage them... perhaps even drop them a note to let them know how much you appreciated their actions... leave a little sticky note of encouragement.
And.. although I mention it last it should come first; it's prayer. It's something that we tend to overlook until everything starts to unravel and fall apart. I've found that everything just falls into place in ways I could never imagine if I hand it over to God first; and especially before I say or do anything.
Maybe, the moments your family will remember most will be those times they experienced your support and encouragement in their life. Our time is finite- we need to spend our time doing things that are helpful, loving and encouraging.
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I've decided to accept the 31Day blogging challenge with my own focus for the month: falling in love with small moments.