"Move, little birdie," I uttered in vain as I drove the minivan carefully beside the baby bird who was perched in the middle of the road.
"Momma!" Daughter 1 cried out looking back at the birdie still in the middle of the road. "He's hurt!"
"I don't think so," I assured her. "He's just young as learning to fly."
"How do you know it's a he?" she argued.
"You just called it a he," I reminded her.
"Yeah, but, he might be hurt," she said still looking through the back window, rolling her eyes at my gender pronoun choice.
Despite my confidence that it was just a smallish bird who was on his first solo flight, I turned the van around.
"Are we going to get him?" she squealed as I pulled over beside the tiny winged thing who still had visible down on his body.
"No," I said. "We'll just help him get to the side."
We carefully approached the tiny thing and I snapped a picture. Daughter 1 giggled at the sight and then the birdie awkwardly took off flying into the wind. This is to say that he flapped his wings as if he were trying to power a small village and floated backward, finally landing with the tiniest of thuds in the still-green grass.
"Oh my gosh, Momma!" Daughter 1 continued her giggling. "You were right!" She sounded incredulous.
We darted to the spot in the grass to check on the little guy.
We determined after closer examination against the green lawn that he was probably a she. She was probably a cardinal. She was beautiful nonetheless. I named her Rosie the redbird. My camera clicked, Daughter 1 giggled, and Rosie took off again.
She flew longer and father and higher than before. Daughter 1 and I chased after her just in time for her to come chasing back at us, tweeting, as if she were saying, "Where are the brakes on this thing?" She battled the wind and twisted and turned before she landed in neighbor's decorative grass. Or weeds. Or garlic bed. Wherever.
"I think she's telling us thanks for helping her learn to fly," Daughter 1 said as we walked back to the van, confident that the little bird wouldn't be sitting in the middle of the road any time soon.
"I think so too," I smiled.
"I still wish we could have taken her home," Daughter 1 sighed.
My mom, who was sitting in the van watching the shenanigans of her older daughter and oldest granddaughter said, "If you love something set it free..."
Because Daughter 1 is sorta a smart a$$ (no comments about genetics, y'all) interrupted her Nana and said, "Then I set my momma free."
"That's okay," I smiled, "I'll always come back to you."