In this picture there are two baby owls and one mother owl. I watched them for a good hour the day after my frustrating doctor’s appointment. They have the ability to wipe just like an eraser everything from the blackboard of my brain.
The baby got his first food. He sat on the branch crying and calling his mother. He didn’t think he knew what to do with his food. His sibling flew next to him and sat on the branch by his side. They both cried to their mother. I heard her hooting in the tree close by. She left them there with their food. The baby’s cry got more desperate. More frantic. So I had a very long conversation with the baby, “LIsten, you are a big boy now, you were brave, got your food on your own, now just eat it! You know how! You’ve watched your mom do it, now just tear it up and eat!” My own daughter watched me having this discussion with the owls. She came and sat with me under their branch. The baby looked at me and cried over and over again. Believe it or not….that baby owl heard me and tore at his food.(don’t worry, I’m not taking credit for teaching an owl. I was just a little support on the ground) He started ripping it up. Then he looked around for his mother again. He cried. His sibling cried. They felt like they could not eat on their own. After about an hour of crying and conversation, the mother appeared. Her wingspan was truly breathtaking. She flew down above her babies and let her wings touch both of their backs and then she flew to the next tree again. This is the picture I took above. I thought at first she swiped their food. But no. She said, ” Come on boys! You can do this. I’m right here. I’m so sorry I can’t help you with this one. You can do it on your own, but I will be right here by your side.” And she was. She hooted. They cried one last time. Then they ate their food for the first time by themselves. I held my hand over my mouth because I was in awe of the scene I just witnessed.
I was up at 6 am that day. The babies were crying. I got home from my appointment at 6pm and they were still crying. These babies have cried 24/7 for months. I have watched the mother have sleepless nights and days. I have seen her come to them with no food and reach out her wings and put them around her babies. I have seen them pecking at her while she is preparing their food and watched as she lifted her head and closed her eyes in a moment of patience.
I had even watched her use her wing to tap their shoulders in a not so gentle manner when they have hurt her. But she has never left their side. She is always nearby. Watching. Teaching. Loving. She has even said she was sorry. Have you ever apologized to your child? It does not lessen your authority or perceived power to apologize to your child if you have been in the wrong or done something disappointing. It just models to your child the power in love. Love means sometimes there are struggles, but we can apologize, we can stay close, we can teach, we can protect, we can embrace, we can have patience on the sleepless nights. When we can’t, we can apologize. Then they will know the power in an apology. I watched the owl do it. If she can do it, we can do it.
I have watched this mother owl parent her babies. I have watched her babies grow up. I’ve listened to them cry. I’ve watched her comfort and I have watched her teach them that they will be ok because she is watching over them. I’ve watched her tirelessly hunt for them, nourish them, and show patience that most sleepless moms probably could not do. I feel honored to have been able to watch her parent and love her babies.
May we all love and parent like the owl.
May we all protect our babies like the owl.
May we all be loved like the baby owls are loved.
May we all feel the safe outstretched arms wrap around us like the mother owl gives her babies, from those who love us.
May we all hear “I’m sorry” when disappointment comes.
May you all be loved just like that mother owl loves her babies. Instinctually. Unconditionally.