fly.

This is Catherine Segars, that drama girl. Today’s message is a tribute to all the mama birds out there and our little birdies who are about to fly.

fly.

In this journey called parenthood, some seasons seem to crawl. Quite literally. The crawling season is filled with sleepless nights and bleary-eyed mornings. But then you blink and your child is talking and walking and reading and writing and working and driving, and contemplating colleges, and considering callings. And you realize that the seasons aren’t crawling anymore. Huh-uh. They are flying by in a hurried haze of ballgames and birthdays, proms and graduations.

Yes, the seasons have indeed flown by, and that sweet little life that you nursed and nurtured is poised to fly to another nest. A nest of their own.

It is that time of the year when seasons shift in nature and in life. Little adults gather in dark robes and funny hats with tassels that will fly high on a fleeting day.

An ode to our graduates is in order, whether you have one yet or not.

I have a dear friend named Paula who sent me just such an ode that she wrote for her college senior, who remains in the nest for just a short time still. I bawled like a baby when I read it. I’m a few years off from that milestone myself, but I know in the flitter of an eye, my little bird will be poised to fly.

In her poem, Paula touches on a significant theme that strikes a resounding chord in me, in every mom. She says that as mothers, we create a “forgettable history,” forgettable in the sense that the history books are silent about the work we mothers do. Our work is too simple to be noted. Unadorned with the accolades that others achieve. To slay dragons may be the calling of some, it may be the calling of our little swallows, but the silent work of the mother bird goes unsung. It is a forgettable history.

But not today.

As Paula so boldly declares, we women are powerful, writing our history on the hearts and minds of the generation that is to come, a generation conceived in our womb and nurtured in our nest. They will not forget our history. No, they become a living and breathing history of our lives.

In this season of seniors and on this eve of Mother’s Day, I will sing the mothers song. I will praise her history by sharing this poem with you . . .

After the Awards
by Paula Kittle

Behold,
a younger version of me
in a dress that fit me thirty
pounds ago.

Here you stand,
twenty-one a hiccup away,
your surprised delight from the day
and awards in hand.

A quarter
of a century, the span between us
and where your story becomes
much larger

than mine.
With each recognition of talent,
you step closer to purpose and
the divine.

And also
uncertainty, while my calling
two decades strong is becoming
unfocused.

At my side,
ten weary years between you
stands the baby boy who,
despite my

pleas and prayers,
nursed fitfully at the breast
and is now level with it. Less
than ten years

are left.
Enough time to live out dreams
and stumble into what seems
a gift

most strange.
That takes as much as it gives us.
Thirty pounds from now, how much
will change

for you?
I will hand down to you more
than dresses I hope. And for
the years to

come, I pray
they will fit you better than 
they ever did me. And when 
the day

turns to 
evening and I find myself near
rest, forgive my flaws dear,
and do

yourself
a favor by not permitting regret
to linger as you too beget 
and test

the way 
that opens up ahead of you.
Take from me what is true
and stay 

far from 
my mistakes. I am but human.
I never claimed perfection
as some

imply.
The sirens that call to you will
differ from my own. Still,
to fly

upon
the backs of dragons is in your
blood. This maternal pride for
the dawn

of your 
rising sun, apart from this 
nest we've grown in together, is
so far

as sweet 
as the early days of these last two
decades. The innocence that was you
complete

with curls
and precocious baby talk at three
is within you yet. Your life I see
unfurls

ever
farther from me, as it should.
But in another fashion could
forever

circle
around much nearer than we
may ever know. What will we
work? Full

of mystery 
and doubt, we are powerful
we women, making forgettable
history

as we nurture and mother and grow.
I, once your whole story, know
you will 

write stories
of your own. Some with pen,
others with your life when
more is

expected of 
you than you now know how to give.
You are just starting to know how to live
and love.

How well
I remember being twenty-one.
Only now does that seem so young.
I fell

into my
future. Into yours. And here
you are at that same precipice.
Dear child,

fly.


A special thanks to my very dear and talented friend, Paula Kittle, for allowing me to share her heart with all of you. I have found my own heart in her words. I pray that you have too.

A final thought: If your baby birds, like mine, still remain close requiring your daily nurture and care, savor these moments. For you won’t find another season like this one.

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