Saturday, May 23, 2020

Learning to Fly

We have three bird’s nests under our back deck nestled in the beams and rafters. Kim was the first to notice them. At first and from our angle, we saw a head or two peek over the top of the nest, only to hunker down out of sight. A couple of weeks ago, we saw tiny heads, beaks open, expecting their food as one of the parents sat on the edge of the nest. It flew away as it spied us spying on them. In the last day or two, Kim noticed the little ones, not so little anymore, were learning to fly.

She almost stepped on one of the babies in the grass. The momma and papa darted from fence to tree in warning, trying to keep her and the dogs away from the baby. Eventually, the baby found its wings and flew off to safety.

Yesterday we think one of the babies, and the only remaining bird among the three nests, flew awkwardly to the ground. Kim and I distracted the dogs long enough for the little one to hide until it flew off to safety. At least, we think it flew off to safety. Once we got the dogs back inside and went out again, the little bird was nowhere to be found.

Our daughter, Hannah, has a wedding planned for November. We hope that she and her fiancĂ© Alex will be able to have it, and we hope people will be able to attend. With Covid-19, we don’t know. Only hope. They have planned their wedding, at least as much as they can at this point. Time will tell us more. She and Alex bought a house and move into it one month from today. A nice starter home that Kim and I would be happy down-sizing to. She is completing her second year as an elementary teacher and loving it. Her fiancĂ© works full time at a job he loves. Their life together has taken off.

Our youngest, Emily, graduated (kind of) from college earlier this month. She was accepted into grad school for the fall and just registered for classes. She, her boyfriend, one of her roommates and her boyfriend found an apartment and will be moving into it in early July. They are excited as you would imagine. Emily had been working part time for a nonprofit and was offered a full-time position. Her boyfriend just passed his personal training exam, something he went to college for, and got a full-time job. While Emily and her boyfriend have a ways to go, they are on a happy path leading somewhere.

Those baby birds were cared for and protected and eventually flew off on their own. I have no idea if the mom and dad bird still watch over their young ones. Perhaps, perhaps not. I don’t know birds well enough to know about their habits and nature.

Hannah and Emily, on the other hand, will always be looked after and cared for. Hannah by Alex, and Emily by Quavon. By Kim and me, too. Obviously not so much nearby, but from a distance. I still text them each morning upon waking and each night just before bed. Sometimes I get a response, other times not. We talk on the phone once a week just to catch up and touch base.

But it isn’t the same. They are learning to fly. Perhaps they’ve already learned to fly and are now testing their wings.

Being a parent can be difficult. Being a parent is not for the faint of heart. When the baby is born, a manual doesn’t come with it. Yes, there are books - bibles of a sort, actually - but nothing like a manual. We get guidance from our parents, from others who have done it before us. But mostly trial and error.

And when it comes time for our birds to leave the nest and fly off on their own, it can be both a breathtakingly proud moment, and a painful moment. Their dependence upon us becomes less. We can only hope we’ve done a good enough job at preparing them for their flight. We can only hope we’ve given them the strength to make it on their own. Guided them by our example (and I have to admit that my example has not always been the greatest). Showed them “how” to live responsibly, with empathy, with compassion and kindness. And helped them develop the resiliency for life after the nest. Knowing that we’re only a text or call away.

Parenting is hard. There are proud moments, sad moments, frustrating moments. We wish we could have do-overs or a restart. I only wish and hope that Hannah and Emily know Kim and I did the best we could and loved them fiercely through all the ups and downs, the twists and turns. Hope so. Best we could do, knowing that we will continue to do the best we can. Hope so. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
My new book, Betrayed, will debut Nov. 12, 2020! It is a contemporary psychological thriller using some of the same characters from my previous work. It takes place on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeast Arizona.

Below is the book blurb. Pretty excited about it.

Integrity is protecting someone who betrayed you. Courage is keeping a promise even though it might mean death.

A late-night phone call turns what was to be a fun hunting trip into a deadly showdown. Fifteen-year-old brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans and Brett McGovern face death on top of a mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. They have no idea why men are intent on killing them.

Betrayed is a contemporary psychological thriller and an exploration of the heart and of a blended family of adopted kids, their relationships to each other and their parents woven into a tight thriller/mystery.

Rick Treon, award-winning author of Deep Background and Let the Guilty Pay wrote a review of Betrayed:

“Betrayed is at once an emotional chapter in author Joseph Lewis’ continuing coming-of-age story and an intriguing thriller. Following both law enforcement and a group of teens searching for a missing boy on Native American land, Lewis’ latest also provides a unique view into Navajo culture. A layered story that explodes into a bullet-riddled climax.”

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor

Spiral Into Darkness:
Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement.

Caught in a Web:
A PenCraft Literary Award Winner!
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved.                         

Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them.                           

Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family.                                           

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out.

Photo of Birds in a Nest by Marty Southwell and Unsplash.

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe