Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ready for flight ?

I've been watching this fellow for several days now, and this morning I grabbed my camera. Isn't he (or she) a beauty? When I uploaded the file to my computer and saw it enlarged, I was amazed at the intricate detail of wing design, its compound eyes and in general, its beauty as one of God's intricately-designed creatures.

Studying the photo further, I noticed something that set me to thinking. When you look at his position, it's hard to tell whether he's coming or going - landing or leaving. It could be either ... couldn't it?

There comes a point in time when our children are on that same "edge" and almost ready for take-off. They are ready to fly but not quite gone. Or they have ventured out and returned to rest and recuperate before heading out again. As parents, we study their posture and wonder, "Are they coming or going?"

Our three children each had their own flight patterns. Our firstborn left little by little, you might say. After graduation from high school, she worked full time and came and went in the evenings, left in the mornings and in some ways, was preparing for her future flight. In the meantime, she continued to circle the air strip and practice her take-offs.

Our second child, a son, was accepted into a prestigious college with a decent scholarship and made a sudden departure. He didn't actually fly - we drove him up and unloaded his ironing board, photos of family, suitcases, etc. Visiting campus was nice but driving away was torture. I felt like he'd taken off without warning and his space on the air strip was permanently vacated.

He did come back for holidays, but after his second year of school he joined the Marines because of September 11, 2001. "We're at war, Mom, and it's my turn to serve." I was proud but a little worried, too. After following Uncle Sam here and there, he finished his four years and came back to marry his sweetheart. Eighteen months later, they recalled him, and he flew off to Iraq. The following July 4th, he landed back on American soil. He and his wife are expecting their first baby in September!

Our third child, another son, graduated early and joined the U.S. Marines on the delayed-entry program. He was to leave that September, so I had an entire summer to watch his plane take off and land here on the home airstrip. Or so I thought. In early June he got a call to report early and next day, he was on his way. We had little time to say our goodbyes before his plane (a real plane) ferried him to Parris Island, South Carolina.

Thankfully, he did fine and we saw him cross the parade deck in uniform to receive his eagle-globe-and-anchor pin. He, like his brother before him, had conquered the crucible - a grueling course that tries the body, mind and spirit for 36 hours just before graduation. He did land here a few days before he was shipped out to California for radio school training. When his time with the Marines was over, he landed once more on home turf and parked his "plane" here for about a year. Now he has a good job, a place of his own, and he's close enough to stick his feet under our table now and then.

Children do grow up and fly away. Some do practice flights, others jet away suddenly. Some return for a season while others start their lives elsewhere. It is the way of life and parenting. Like my dragonfly, there are times you aren't quite sure where they stand. Are they coming or going? Flying or floundering?

Shortly after I snapped this photo, my little dragonfly friend flew around the garden and then came back to his perch. Who would have thought he could be the subject that would spur such thoughts on parenting?

Fly high, dragonfly,
Take your wings and split the sky.
You move faster than a blink,
Seeing you has made me think.

Fly high, dragonfly,
Take your wings and split the sky.
Come again and perch awhile,
Seeing you has made me smile.


  1. Oh Nan, how beautifully put your words are. The segue from the dragonfly to the path of our children's lives and parenting was lovely. You have a gift...Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Hi Nan. Thanks for visiting my blog and the very nice comment.

    You write beautifully. Beautiful photos too!


  3. Dearest Nan, Thank you for your kind and loving words...I miss you!!! But will return as soon as I can!!! You are indeed the sister I always wanted :-)!!! And you can be sure that I will visit you as soon as I return!!! God bless you, my dear friend!! With much love, Janine XO

  4. Hi there Nan,

    It has been so long since I have visited. Thank you for being patient with me. I have enjoyed sitting and reading with you this morning.
    I loved your photo this morning and reading your thoughts. It is with such mixed emotions that our children grow up and become their own. Pippin is now away at her summer job and it is with joy that I let her go and with with sadness that I kept myself together as she sobbed into my shoulder at saying bye for now. She calls and we talk every day. She is adjusting but wants us to visit every weekend. As much as we want to, I secretly find reasons not to make it every weekend because I know she needs to learn to stretch beyond us just a little. Oh tough love is so tough.

  5. Hi Nan;) I popped over here from your visit to my blog (thanks) And am I glad I did. I love your blog and have joined your followers. I was homeschooled in Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe) in the late 50's and early 60's. My daughter-in-law, Debbie started homeschooling our oldest (6 year-old) granddaughter this year. She has lots of opposition from her family but we can see the difference in our gd since this method of education has been initiated in their home. I love your photo of the dragonfly oh I love your WHOLE blog. Congratulations on the forthcoming birth of another grandchild. (PS I posted a comment but it disappeared - aplogies if it comes through twice!)


"Thanks for sharing your thoughts ..."