Our little lady is poorly today so I have had an unexpected day with her at home. Although I would of course not wish her unwell, it has been nice to spend the day caring for her. All of my motherly instincts have been heightened and any trace of impatience dissolved the moment I became aware that she needed me completely – at eight, this is now a much rarer occurrence.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of motherhood. In the early days when my children were new born, to wake up and remember that there was a little life next to me made my heart swell and to look into their crib and watch them sleeping peacefully would cause a little flutter which I feel even now when I check on them during the night.
In between the bickering and complaining there is still the odd moment of motherly serenity but having time to look back at some photos today, I found these images of the swallows nesting at my parents’ last year which really brought the joy of parenthood home. For me, this was a powerful experience where, over a condensed time period, I witnessed the whole journey of these beautiful birds from birth to taking flight. It was incredible to observe, within this tiny family, the instinctual drive to protect, nurture and teach the young before setting them out into the world.
My parents had been observing the swallows nesting and when we arrived for our stay they had recently hatched. Lots of patient waiting paid off and I was able to capture the wide open beaked call of the hungry chicks popping up to be fed. Over the next few days, with a constant supply of insects from mum and dad, the chicks continued to grow in strength and eventually ventured out onto the side of the nest. It was incredible to then be able to watch some of the first flights of the babies. Watching the parents encourage their young out of their secure nesting place, calling them into clumsy flight before guiding them around their immediate surrounds, struck a huge chord with me. Their unfailing support and natural urge to see their fledglings succeed was a beautiful reminder of the journey of parenthood – one so easy to overlook with the stresses of daily life.
I hope the swallows will return this year – such a joy to observe.