Some guests are invited and their arrival is planned for. Other guests – well, they just show up.
For 3 years straight, my family and I have been hosting an uninvited guest. This guest comes to our home and stays for weeks at a time. Not only that, this guest goes through a major life cycle event each visit.
Each spring the 7-foot bush that stands right next to our front door turns into a delivery ward as “Ladybird” (my children named her) builds her nest, lays her eggs, sits atop her eggs, hatches her babies, cares for her babies, and ultimately sends her babies away. The whole process seems to take about six weeks. This scene has served as an up-close Discovery Channel program for my family, and we love it.
With great excitement and anticipation, my children follow Ladybird and her flock (this year she laid three blue eggs). They peek their heads around to check out the progression of nature each time they pass the tree. Clearly, Ladybird did not select our house for the peace and quiet. My wife takes pictures of each stage. I give out cigars when the babies are born to celebrate the blessed day. Well, maybe not, but there is a palpable energy in our home when Ladybird’s chicks are hatched. This is the closest my wife and I will come to extending our family, and the closest my children get to a pet that isn’t swimming in a glass bowl.
I’m not sure how many more years Ladybird will be using our home as her nursery. This year Ladybird was later than usual. She also flew away anytime someone walked past her nest. This begs the question – where is her maternal instinct? Also, what about a father? Would it kill him to stop hunting for worms and check up on his family?
Well, I do not know much about birds and am not an animal person by nature. But Ladybird has become a part of my family experience, and taught us a bit about nature. We look forward to having her come back in the future, and the best part is we don’t have to prepare or clean up. What a guest!