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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I think one of the best things about being a mom is seeing joy and excitement in the faces of my kids. Not over game boys, cell phones or iPods, but when they light up over things that we, as adults, seem to overlook more times than not.
Several weeks ago the kids noticed that robins had made nests on the support beam for our upper deck. From the middle deck that is outside of our office you can look up and see the mommy birds sitting on their perfectly formed nests. I came home a one day and the kids had discovered that if you peer through the openings between the slats on the upper deck you can look right into, and get a close-up view of, the nest and its contents. In one of the nests they saw five neatly arranged, speckled, light blues eggs.
Every day the kids would go out and spend hours taking turns on their hands and knees watching the eggs in hopes that they would see the baby robins breaking their way out. Today I had been out of the house most of the day when I got a text from Nikki. I could see her radiant smile as I read her words "Mom, the babies have hatched!" I know her well enough to know that she was jumping up and down while she was texting me.
As soon as I walked in the front door I was mobbed by kids. "Mom, come see our babies!" I didn't want to look at ugly little creatures. I didn't want to kneel down on a dirty deck while wearing white pants. I didn't want to do anything but pour a glass of iced tea and check my e-mail. One look at their faces and I knew what had to be done. I was going to have to get on my hands and knees and, with one eye, look through a quarter inch gap between the boards to see new hatchlings.
I'm glad I did. There they were, three fuzzy-headed, open-mouthed babies nestled between two un-hatched siblings. The kids were right, it was amazing. The birds, well they were ugly little birds, but the excitement of the kids for being able to share with me their discovery was priceless. I know that soon it will happen again. In the garage there is a cooler filled with rain water and probably 30 tadpoles and in Jeremiah's room is a container with a praying mantis egg pod waiting to burst open with around 200 praying mantis babies.
Summer at our house is always a time of discovery. There are baby bunnies, fawns, insects, and birds. We'll go to Cannon Beach and search the tide pools finding colorful starfish, crabs and darting fish. We'll go to Seaside for the culinary discoveries of salt water taffy, huge ice cream cones and elephant ears. We'll go to the lake house to discover what being a family was like before TV's cell phones and Nintendo. I think I may just discover more than the kids this summer when they remind me what the really important things in life are: kids, smiles, compassion and joy. Hopefully this time around I won't soon forget their lessons.


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