June 11, 2014

Keeper of the Nest

There has been a beautiful story unfolding in a small tree right outside of our front door. We have been observing a Robin build her neat little nest and lay her clutch of eggs. We watched those eggs hatch and the chicks be cared for, then saw those baby Robins take flight.  This week, now that all of the babies had found their wings and left the nest, I peeked inside and saw what remained.  This. . .

One perfect little egg all by itself.  All of the others in that nest got to hatch, find their wings and soar.  Not that one.

I have a nest full.  Four of them are finding their wings and taking flight.  One remains. No longer just a toddler, but in school and more exposed to the world - Bridger watches other children running, chasing soccer balls, jumping on trampolines and racing down slides.  I fear he wonders why his wings have been clipped.  His siblings have been by his side since day one.  However, they are growing up and finding their own wings to carry them.  Bridger will always be number one in their heart, but they are spending more and more time pursuing their interests and not at home as much as they used to be.  I fear he feels like this little egg.

I have been asked a specific question no less than 100 times in the past two weeks as people have seen Bridger with his new service dog, Ty.  It is, "What does he do?"

People see Ty and see Bridger, and wonder how that works.  I answer the standard service dog answer that he opens doors and drawers, he picks up dropped items, etc.  But a large part of what Ty does is hard to describe in a quick answer to their short question.  I can't describe it even in a long answer.  You just have to see it to understand.

So, what does Ty do?

He holds down the fort while Bridger is chillin' inside.  Everyone wants a friend to play in their accessible treehouse.

He says goodbye. When you stand at a bus stop all by yourself and you are the only child on your bus, it is fun to have someone by your side.

He says Welcome Home!  While other kids have their friends riding the bus home with them for playdates, Bridger has a eager friend waiting for a playdate every afternoon of every day.

He plays Bridger's games.  They aren't kickball and video games, but they are games that Bridger can play and Ty thinks they are just as fun as Bridger does.

This little bird will hatch and find his wings too.  Until then, Ty is the Keeper of the Nest.