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Friday, August 27, 2010

Stay-At-Home Dads And Summer Bird Watching

Pair of mourning doves on branch, North American upland game bird

What do stay-at-home dads and mourning doves have in common?


First, let me set the stage.  My husband, Doug, had the responsibility burden privilege of staying home with our 3 kids this summer.  Let’s just say that they drove him a little bit crazy, and unlike me he was more than happy to see them back to school this week.

Needless to say, some days he felt like he was chasing his tail around – between swimming, play dates, and carpool – and at the end of the day he would ask himself what he had really accomplished.  It’s easy for any stay-at-home parent to think, Why am I at home with these kids all day when I could be out there doing something more productive?

Of course, I always tell Doug that I appreciate his sacrifice, but sometimes he doesn’t seem to hear me.  This is where the mourning doves come in.

This summer, a mother dove built a nest above our patio.  Given that our semi-urban yard is the size of our garage, we’re not talking about a large space to begin with.  But doves don’t care about size.  She found a perfect spot for nesting her eggs.

We all stood by and watched.

It seemed as if this mother never left the nest.  Morning, noon, and night she could be seen sitting on her eggs.  Then, one day, I discovered her secret.

I was sitting on the patio when another mourning dove flew in and landed next to the nest.  Neither dove moved for 5 minutes.  Then, I watched the amazing “switch.”  As one dove flew from the nest, the other simultaneously replaced her.  Did she have a clone?  A twin?  A sister?

Not exactly.  It was Daddy Dove. 

After doing some trusty online research, I learned that the father dove and mother dove take turns incubating the eggs.  In fact, it’s not unusual for the father to guard the nest during the day so the mother can go out and get food.  (And, yes, when she gets home at night she takes over full responsibility for the nest!)

This sounded quite familiar.  So I said to Doug, “See, honey, we’re in touch with nature.” 

I love it when God provides unexpected lessons from nature.  I think He decided to send us the mourning doves to show us we really can’t put our lives in a box.  To our surprise, Daddy Dove was handling daytime duty just fine!

Did you learn any unexpected lessons from nature this summer?


Mommycrat said...

That's a lovely story - and now I've learnt something too. I'll have to tell my hubby - who is currently at home for another month with our daughter.

Can't think of any nature lessons I picked up this summer though...

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I'm like a mini Barbara Kingsolver, I use examples in my novel from nature.

I like yours here.

Have a great weekend. I announced winners on my blog today.
~ Wendy

Heidiopia said...

Fascinating! I'll have to let my husband (aka "the Bird Whisperer") in on that tidbit!

And, by the way, after many years of single parenting, he is the most incredible Mr. Mom even with a full-time job. Maybe he's channelling his inner Daddy Dove!

Susan DiMickele said...

Oh, I like that -- "Inner Daddy Dove."

Ang said...

My husband just returned from deployment, and we've contemplated him being a house-dad instead of returning to full-time civilian work. Your post was timely and poignant; thanks!

Laura said...

Daddy Dove -- I love it!

I would love to have seen that amazing switch. Actually, I've seen that at our house a number of times over the years...

Graceful said...

I love this story. You are a lucky girl with that hub -- me, husband does a fair share of birdie-care around here, too!

Marcus Goodyear said...

Susan, thank you so much for your comment on Gordon's post yesterday evening. I go back and forth on whether we should have run the article, so notes like yours are such an encouragement.

Jessica Nelson said...

lol Poor guy, but very brave! I'm pretty sure my guy couldn't handle it.
A long time ago you'd post something about which was harder, working outside the home or staying at home (for moms).
I've been a stay-at-home mom for six years and didn't feel I could weigh in but now I just got a job and thought I'd give you one more opinion. :-)
They're both hard. LOL
I have three kids, all under six. My job is being a bank teller.
Emotionally, staying home is harder. I have to break up fights, deal with illogicality, be mentally and emotionally present at all times. But I can plan my day and don't have to answer to anyone but myself.
Working outside the home has been enjoyable because I actually get to talk to other adults and there's no screaming, crying or constant interruptions over things I can't control. My job is busy, yes, but it's way different than being home. I'm physically exhausted after a day at work, and mentally a little tired too.
So I think the answer to that post is that there's no answer. It depends, you know? On the kind of job you have, how many kids you have, etc.

I know this is the wrong place but just wanted to throw that out there since I have NO clue where I originally saw it. :)