Among the thousand gratitudes, I am grateful for birds and their families. At the end of June of 2020, my older daughter went through the photos on my phone. She counted about a dozen of our dog, one or two of each of my children, and hundreds of a family of robins.

She asked, “when did you take all these photos?”

I took them (with my phone) when I was in Zoom meetings for work. I took them while my kids were in Zoom school. The photos don’t lie – for that whole month, those little birds occupied my attention as much as anything else I was doing.

From my basement office window, I watched my own children play outside, and I watched two robin parents build a nest under our deck, and then take turns guarding their clutch of eggs.

And when the birds were born, the two robin parents couldn’t have been prouder of their little brood of four baby birds.

By the time the babies were born, my children were out of (Zoom) school, but I was still in (Zoom) work, so while my children played outside, I stayed at my computer at the office window.

The little ones were endlessly hungry.

For a week, the parent robins spent all their time going back and forth to the nest and the yard with mouths full of worms.

I watched, except when my own little birds needed me to feed them.

And then one day, long before I expected it, the baby birds were big.

They half-fell, half-flew out of the nest, took a few short steps, and then they were gone. No flute lessons or soccer practice or college tuitions. The little ones had grown fat and happy, and they knew exactly what to do.

These two did a spectacular job, and I’m so very grateful that I got to witness their family life unfold.