In some of those animal documentaries, the male would spend days lovingly crafting a comfortable place to lay and hatch eggs and then the female of his choice would critique his creation. If she liked it, if she thought he did good, she would mate with him, but if she was at all displeased, she'd peck his nest to bits. Spitting in the eye would be less damaging to the soul, I should think.
But no matter how much effort went into building the nest, no matter how many happy moments the young couple had there, no matter how many offspring there were or how they fared, when the kids are gone, so are the parents and the nest is truly empty. The eaves of our ranch house is littered with many of them. Being the Great Recycler, I keep them there, in case some slacker bird wanted to plagiarize one, but I guess birds aren't like that.
Big Dog and I spent the weekend helping his niece move into her freshman college dorm. Well, actually, her parents moved her in and we were just hanging around as amused bystanders. It was quite a scene on campus, with cars and people and moving carts all over the place. Parents hauling giant television sets, kids bringing ATVs, and of course, tons of tears as parents loosened their grip on their kids.
"They'll be crying all the way home," Big Dog said of his sister and her husband. It was the end of an emotional week and a hyper-emotional weekend.
"Yeah. And then, when they get home, it'll be worse," I added, imagining how empty their house, their nest might feel without their bubbly, vivacious daughter.
Birds don't fret. They build their nest to raise their young and when that job is over, the parents abandon the nest as eagerly (I think) as their children do. Human parents could definitely learn a thing or two from the birds.