Mama Robin has been building a nest in the pine tree beside our driveway again. For weeks, Daniel and I watched as she tirelessly collected twigs and string and who-knows-what-else to line her nest. One warm evening in April, as Daniel played his guitar on the front stoop, I was delighted to see her flitting away in search of the juiciest worms to feed to the little heads peering over the edge.
It felt like spring. Like hope. Like new life.
Then one windy May afternoon, not long after another doctor’s appointment where they poked and prodded and scanned me and the little life inside me, I pulled into the driveway to a horrifying sight. One of those tiny baby robins lay on the driveway, motionless. The wind had tossed it out of the nest before it was ready to fly.
Even on a good day, a sight like this would be enough to make me teary. But in this agonizing season of waiting to find out what will happen to our own precious baby, it was almost enough to undo me. I pulled into the garage as quickly as I could and tried desperately to think of something else—anything else.
This, I might add, is the real danger of being an English major. It’s not the common warning people gave me when I was in college: that I’d never get a real job and would end up perpetually waiting tables or otherwise underemployed. As it turns out, the more pressing problem is that I see everything in my life through the lens of literary analysis. Case in point: Surely this is foreshadowing! Or at the very least, symbolism! Something dreadful is going to happen in the next chapter, and this is how I’m being prepared for it! My life might as well be a suspense novel, for all the clues and meaning I infuse into the smallest scenarios.
The next morning I went outside, dreading the prospect of seeing the tiny bird again. But to my surprise, the driveway was clear.
“Daniel . . . was that you?” I asked.
Sure enough, he knew the sight would break me into a thousand pieces, so when I was otherwise occupied, he quietly removed all traces of the little bird. I hugged him tight, grateful for his tenderness.
“This wasn’t the first time,” he admitted.
Apparently he’d found a similar scene on several other occasions and had removed the evidence so I wouldn’t have to register the trauma.
The English major in me swooned. Because in that moment I realized I wasn’t living in a suspense novel; I was living in a love story. Sure, it’s not what you’d expect in a typical romantic comedy, and it’s not always what I imagined love would look like when we said our fresh-eyed vows almost six years ago. But it’s real. Because sometimes love means scraping away a bird carcass to protect the one you love.
In that moment, I felt double love for this man—for the husband he is and the dad he’s going to be. Our child hasn’t been born yet, but already he has the tenderness of a father. And in his eyes I see a reflection of the tenderhearted love of the Father himself.
Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
We don’t know what life holds for this baby of ours. But I know for certain that this child is loved and protected by the love of two fathers: an earthly father and a heavenly one. And when the winds of life blow, this child will not fall without those fatherly arms stretched wide to catch him.
Kristen Joy Wilks says
What a sorrowful and beautiful tale, Stephanie. Father’s Day is a special one, there is just something wonderful about a great dad. I just wrote at my blog about my youngest son’s Daddy Adventure Day that he had earlier in May and it definitely shows some of the amazing things about Dads. I had a great Dad, but didn’t get to keep him for long. He died in an accident when I was 14. I then had a step dad who tried his best. Step families are so very difficult, but there were good things too. I don’t think my husband has a single good memory of his father. I think that he is such a good and fabulous husband and dad himself, partially because he deeply feels that lack that he had growing up. Sometimes people think that because they did not have a good example, or any example, that they will fail their own children. So not true. So on father’s day, I think about my wonderful husband who found God, despite the antagonism of his family and who walked a victorious path, despite never being shown how, and who shows his love in little and big ways every day.
Your family is a beautiful story of redemption–how God allows us to rewrite the stories of our childhood and create something beautiful out of the pieces. Thanks for sharing this, Kristen!
Maggie R says
Oh Stephanie, this tender story is not only true, but it is TRUTH. LIke you, I see the world often through symbolism, and what I believe God meant for you to see was exactly this: the tender love of your Daniel taking action on behalf of his wife. “Because sometimes love means scraping away a bird carcass to protect the one you love.” Just beautiful. Baby Spark has a wonderful daddy and mama!
Thank you, Maggie! And happy Father’s Day weekend to your precious family too!
I love this scripture. It’s one of my life verses. Such a wonderful reminder that our Heavenly Father loves and cares so deeply for us. ❤️
Such a good verse…no matter what we’re going through!
Alice M. M. Teisan says
Beautiful, tender and oh so touching and true.
Thanks, AT from the two bigs and little R!
Love this. Love you. Love your sweetly growing family.
Thank you, my friend!
Rachel Q says
I love this story! Aren’t we just like this as writers and analyzers of words…. always looking at the meaning behind what is happening in our everyday life. I find myself studying life and the fallout scenerios and sometimes just simply enjoying them as they are playing out. At others times I’m good at living the moment and forgetting completely that maybe we should document these moments with some photo ops…. but that thought always comes after the moment is passed. Oh, well… I lived it well! 🙂
Thanks for this sweet story!
Yes, so true…I can relate, Rachel! It’s so nice to know there are kindred spirits out there. 🙂