It’s graduation time and whether one is graduating from high school or college it’s a time with a mixed bag of emotions — excitement, worry, pride, sadness — for both the graduate and his or her parents.
For parents who’ve spent 18 or 20 years tending to, fussing over or bailing out their child, it’s a new era. It’s sometimes hard to make that switch from being so central in our child’s life to not being involved in his or her daily life. We use all sorts of avian terms to describe this time — leaving the nest, empty nest syndrome (which by the way is not a syndrome, according to the talk show experts but rather a phenomenon) and failure to launch.
Failure to launch is that “phenomenon” when parents are more than ready to have the house to themselves and the kids aren’t ready to be on their own — or they leave and come back again (and again).
Looking at bird behavior we know that Mama Bird constructs a nest to lay her eggs. If you’ve ever looked closely at a nest it’s amazing how tightly they are able to weave together twigs, string, hair, leaves, etc., into an impressive safe nest. They settle into their nest to lay eggs and then sit on the eggs until they hatch. Once hatched the Mama and sometimes the Papa birds are very protective of the young — squawking at anyone who comes near the nests; bringing food back for the young. When the baby birds get their wings they start encouraging them to leave the nest — testing their wings while they hover nearby carefully watching over their fledglings.
What happens after that though? Do the adult birds come back for Thanksgiving? Do they bring their babies to show off to the grand birds? Do they recognize one another or is it a complete and total disconnect?