A Moment

Lisa Seward is a therapist with Connected Parenting as well as the director of the Yonge Street Players.

The other day I noticed the red robins were trying to make a nest in the light fixture on my back porch. Too many people and too much nesting for the back area – so my husband gently took apart the early stages (approx. 4 twigs). We felt a pang of guilt, but it was better than having a robin fly at you as you’re sipping a glass of red wine at the close of a hectic day.

A few mornings later, my son was on his way to work at the local grocery store. As he approached his bike, which is secured under the same porch deck area, he noticed a nest on his seat about half completed. He was accosted by a robin flying at him from quite a distance as if to make a B-line for his head. Ty swooped down and the bird perched on the wood pillar about five feet away and stared him down. Ty is a happy-go-lucky, good natured twenty year old with a passion for all things environmentally friendly and commits to biking to save the ozone layer…but he had to get to work. He looked sheepishly at the robin (probably the Dad) and gently pushed the nest off the seat while apologizing as best he could.

The following day I returned home from work to see my son and step son, Jack (age 19) sitting in their boxer shorts in the middle of my basement office peering through binoculars and eating ham sandwiches. They were studying the robin’s nest that had been built in a nook under the porch deck. They were glued to the binoculars and as they passed them back and forth, they whispered to me to be very quiet as the mother bird was perched on her nest in peaceful bliss. I noticed a large book opened to ‘RED ROBINS’ laying in front of the boys as they were reading aloud about the nesting habits of the North American Red Robin ….“Mum, she sits on her nest and lays four eggs over the course of 4 days…,” said Ty in a manner that made me equally mesmerized at the stake out. They proceeded to tell me all the details of the mating ritual, the need for the Mother to stay on the nest no matter what…and well you can imagine the warm feeling brewing inside of me. In fact, I had been away for 3 days for some R & R with my husband and we had come home to a house that was relatively clean …but one always wonders about any unforeseen parties or disarray with dishes and food cartons. They’re good kids…but one never knows how enticing an empty house can be? The neighbour had called earlier but didn’t leave a message – so I wondered if there had been some 20 year old high jinx? And there they were … our two amazing almost 20 and 21 yr old sons quietly watching the mother robin lay her eggs. Boys to men…riveted in the moment, innocent… being as still as a pond at six o’clock in the morning.

In honour of this past Mother’s Day, I think of all the mirroring and the moments that go into raising good kids. The happy ones will remember that we tried our best to mirror their feelings, clarify their thoughts, make repairs and … make more repairs…to let them experience the simple moments in life as they see fit. To give a child space and the need to be curious is underrated…those two large kids made me remember that it’s the little moments that need to be celebrated most. Mostly because we forget that life moves to damn fast for most of us.

I leave the binoculars on my desk now and each day I watch and wonder how that Mother bird finds her patience!

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Please remember that the advice given on this blog is not meant to replace medical advice or the direct advice of a mental health care professional.
"Connected Parenting advises us not just how to parent, but—far more important—who to be as parents. The therapeutic methods suggested by Jennifer Kolari are based not on simple-minded behavioural solutions, but on building warm, nurturing relationships with our children, with insight and compassion not only for their little flaws, but also for our own larger ones."
—Gabor Maté, M.D.

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