I’m an empty nester!

Don’t worry, you didn’t go to sleep last night and wake up 15 years later.  All three of my own children are still living safely (well, that’s debatable) under my roof.  But, I really AM an empty nester after the exciting events at our house today.  When I went to Women’s Conference last month, I came home and found this right next to my back door:

DSCF2026Eleven duck eggs.  So “Mama Duck”, as we’ve called her for the past month (yeah, we’re really creative that way.  You’re lucky we didn’t name all my children Baby, Kid, and Girl), has been sitting on that nest faithfully in our back yard.  She’s slowly gained more and more trust in us as she realized we had no intention of harming her or her eggs.  I was super protective of the little Mama, and once my boys got in big trouble for trying to pick up the eggs and hide them behind the air conditioning unit.  Luckily, they were all replaced safely.  Two of the eggs disappeared during the four-week wait, but my children swear they had nothing to do with the kidnapping. This morning, when I went out to check on her, I found this:

DSCF2048I was so sad because I thought I must have missed the whole coming-out party that we’d so been looking forward to, but when I wandered around the side of my house, I saw this adorable little scene by my fence:

DSCF2035Nine fluffy little waddling ducklings.  After I got all giddy like a little child, I called out my own children.  We opened the gate so that Mama and babies could escape, and we followed them along on their little journey.

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It was great.  Clark declared it “a grand adventure.”  I was so excited for Mama Duck, and my kids told everyone who would listen.  The poor check-out lady at the pharmacy had to hear all three of them gabbing breathlessly about it at once.  When we got home, for the rest of the day, I got a glimpse into what it might feel like to be an empty nester.  I missed her.  That sounds dumb, but I loved protecting her and anticipating her moment of glory.  Whenever I walked out the back door the rest of the day, I felt a twinge of sadness that she’s no longer right there for me to check on.  And yet, at the same time, I was so happy for her and her little ducklings, making their way out into the real world and all.

I can’t imagine what it will be like when I let my own children go like that.  I bet many of the same emotions will be there.  Just bigger.

I think we’ll have to go visit the ducks soon at their pond.  For old time’s sake.  And because I’m kind of like a grandma now, and that’s what grandmas do.  Well done, Mama Duck, well done.

(p.s.  If you missed my last post, I had a little tidbit of kind of exciting news.  Check it out and then go do everything it tells you to do. :))

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24 thoughts on “I’m an empty nester!

  1. Did you read “Make Way for Ducklings” together? It’s one of my all time favorites. We have ducks nearby too. The other day I was on the computer and had the back door open for some fresh spring air. I heard a quack and thought, “Wow, those ducks must be close.” Closer than I thought indeed! One had wandered inside the house and was eating all the spilled Cheerios under the table. I had fed her and her babies for the last couple weeks, and now here she was helping me vacuum. Moms helping moms. 🙂

  2. Oh, yeah, it doesn’t get any better than this. Our family helped a little duck brigade make it to a pond near our home when they first settled in OUR POOL! It was beyond cute, but not terribly convenient. If you get a minute, head over to InkMom’s blog and find her post that includes the video of something like this (maybe 2 or 3 posts ago)

    And I totally relate to the feeling of “who will I take care of now?” I’m pretty sure it’s a girl thing.

  3. Oh dear. I’m up against the famous Diapers and Divinity for the spotlight? I’m hosed. 🙂 Good luck…although I’m not sure you’re the one who needs it.

  4. Aw, man, baby ducks are so cute! My mother in law has a little quail family that takes up residence in her yard every year and several times I’ve seen the mama trail trekking across the snow in the backyard with her little baby quail(s?) behind her.

  5. Coming over from MMB. Got to love the babies!! I grew up on a farm and got my fair share of the little guys — I even delivered a few hourses 🙂

  6. I second the motion that you have to watch the video from InkMom’s blog–but I’ll also give you the link so that (as busy as you are) you have no excuse not to watch this sweetness!

    Gaye says hello. What an example of a small LDS world! One of the very best things about marrying my dh (besides the fact that he is amazing & awesome & wonderful) is that I got to be related to Larry & Gaye…

  7. That is so awesome to have that happen right in your own yard! I would be beyond gleeful over all those baby ducklings. I’m working on a painting of a mother duck with a row of ducklings swimming across a pond…

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