As our chicks have grown from fuzzy little peepers to raggedy teenage chickens I find their journey a microcosm of my human children's lives. Both have seemed to have flown by. I wax philosophical because my daughter, who graduated from BYU just last spring, is now preparing to leave for Seoul South Korea to teach English as a second language in an elementary school.
She reminded me just today that two weeks from this Saturday she will be gone. That's also about the same length of time before the chicks are probably going to be ready to move from their cozy brooder box into the permanent home of the chicken coop we converted from a playhouse.
I find myself both excited and anxious.
For my little chickens, I worry that I will rush them out into the spring time nights before they are fully ready to keep themselves warm. I fret about the security of the coop and the run. Will my little ones find a way out of their enclosure and be killed by one of the dogs or the cat, or will they wander out into the front yard and then into the road? I know that at some point they have to leave the security of the brooder box because,, quite frankly, they will get too big for it and will be worse off if I try to keep them crammed inside out of fear of the what ifs of moving into the outdoor coop.
I draw many of the same conclusions about my fledgling daughter. As much as I would prefer to have her stay in the safety and security of our little town, the opportunities for using her degree and spreading her wings as an adult just aren't found here. She has outgrown this sanctuary. It served it's purpose, and now I have to let her go into a world of unknowns and potential dangers. I have to trust that I have prepared her in every way that I could have for life, and that she is ready to manage without me. Still, when I look at her, she is every bit the little girl as she is the grown woman.
It's my own fault that she is leaving. I have given her the wings and taught her to fly. Just as I have nurtured those little chicks, helped them to understand their world, where their food can be found, how to scratch in the dirt for grit and bugs, and yet I also have clipped their wings to keep them from flying too far or too soon and into trouble, I also have nurtured my daughter to know how to take care of herself, and to embrace the wide world.
In both cases I have to trust that I have done all I can to prepare my little ones for their grown up life, and be there to support them through it.
This motherhood gig is so hard.
I'm a mother of eleven children, wife of 37 years, Latter Day Saint, and 911 Dispatcher and a budding homesteader. Come along with me as I journey toward self sufficiency, one baby step at a time.
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