fear, fledging, flyingFear, Fledging, Flying — this trilogy occurred to me as I was watching the “teen-age” Great Blue Herons in the colony just outside our window.  What incredible bodies they have!  To think they grow from an egg to all but full-sized in a couple of months!  I don’t know if herons feel fear.  But when I see them on the edge of the nest, flapping their wings, over 6 feet span, and know they have never used them to fly yet,  I  feel something like fear!  Fear, fledging, flying.

One of the fledglings actually took the plunge, and landed in the tree right in front of our apartment.  Gawkily, on a small branch, bending it low.  It felt awkward even to watch.  We saw it shift, bob and weave, and the grand creature to be, now a fledgling, seemed unable to take off again.  Flying?  Not for some time.  Finally it got the courage, and managed to bat its way through the branches and flew off.  (Forgive my anthropomorphizing!  I am actually holding the heron’s journey as a metaphor for our human ones!)

fear, fledging, flyingI had the wonderful gift of spending time with both my grown kids this summer, and their kids, my four grandchildren.  3 teenagers among them now.  All fledging.  Trying their wings.  One student driver.  3 Harry Potter addicts, all interested in pushing boundaries.  And flying too.

The phrase “mother-in-the-middle” (MITM) occurs to me.  For many years I was a MITM.  When my mom was still alive, and I had children, I was indeed a MITM.  Now that my mom has passed, my daughter, and daughter-in-law, are both, in their turn, MITMs.  A challenging place in life — full of joys, sorrows, choices, fear, fledging, flying!  Both as mothers, we experience fear, fledging, and flying, and then we watch, coach, hold, love our children through their/our? fears and phobias, fledging or not quite, and flying, at last, thriving, opening, reaching, growing…at any age and stage.fear, fledging, flying

Our kids flying can be opportunities for our own fledging, for learning to deal with new phases, challenges of changing or empty nests.

No kids? We fear, fledge and can fly with a move, change in job, life situations.  A good trilogy to reflect on.  What thoughts do you have? I’d love to hear.

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook :-)

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