My eight-year-old has empty nest syndrome. Yes, you read that correctly. And I mean that in a rather literal sense. You see, those four hatched baby robins I mentioned just two weeks ago in Signs of Spring are gone already. The birds grew quickly, and the last one just flew away on Saturday. We had a special vantage point for that nest. We could sit at our kitchen table and peek out the window to see the nest from behind. We could watch it in safety without scaring the mother away, and we built a little bond with those birds. We got excited when she laid her eggs. We were even more excited when they hatched. We could see the mother bring worms and watch the babies’ scrawny little beaks reach up to grab their food. We watched as they got bigger and the nest became more crowded. The first one left as early as this past Tuesday. We found him on the patio and walked far around so as not to disturb him or leave our scent on him. We watched to see if he was hurt or just waiting, and soon enough, he flew away on his own. Then we watched as the others got bolder and started inching out along the drainpipe, flapping their wings as they still sat in safety. Then finally on Saturday, the last one got his courage and flew across the yard to the forsythia bush. We all cheered. It was a thrilling moment. And then it hit usthey’re gone. Our eight-year-old started to cry, and I’m not gonna lie to ya, I was a bit teary-eyed myself. The nest is empty now; abandoned. It’s a lonely feeling. And those birds provided us with a microcosm of life.

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