The universal role of being a parent … caregiver, protector, mentor.
As many of you know, during the summer months, I spend a lot of time at camp with my family. Through the years, we have always followed the loon families on the lake. Our loon families.
Like clockwork, the loons meet us every spring, scoping out the waters first. They are the first to greet us as our paths converge back together on our beloved lake.
They wake us in the morning, and they put us to bed at night. They keep us company with their haunting calls … reminding each of us of our solitude and oneness in this great wide world.
A bond between loon and human.
Always the event of the summer is when the baby loon(s) are born. We all watch with patience, every year, waiting, hoping that our pair will give us a new little one to watch grow through the summer and early fall months.
And then, once a baby is born, we hold our breath during those early days, observing if the little one is vigorous and healthy, praying that a snapping turtle doesn’t snatch it from underneath.
Daily we talk about our loon baby with the neighbors, speaking of the latest sightings, ensuring to each other that all is well with our loon family.
As the early days wane, the proud parents start showing their little one more and more to us, the baby never out of sight, always by their side.
And then a switch is flipped. The parents begin entrusting their lake family to watch over their little one during the days, while they go off and fish and begin to train.
It is a wonder to watch as the adult birds park their fuzzy little chick up close to our docks and rafts and then leave it. It’s as if we become a parent of the baby loon, on the lookout for danger, hoping that the little one just stays close as our instinct is to nurture … and parent.
Still unable to dive, the little one peers at us, paddling just off shore, waiting for its parents to come back and check in.
A trust. A vulnerability.
We all move quietly on our porches as we don’t want to scare the little one or give the parents any reason to fear our good intentions.
At times, the lake family wonders when are those parents ever going to come back? We talk about it amongst ourselves, relaying to each other how long the baby was under our own care.
And the feeling of responsibility only becomes stronger as the days go by, watching and worrying about this baby.
The lake baby. Our baby.
Care, protect, mentor.
Every summer we watch, and standby, silently protecting, praying, caring for a baby.
The role of being a parent … universal … eternal.
Good luck little one of 2020!