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By the time this column is printed, I will be absolutely overcome with a case of spring fever. Unfortunately, winter will still be hanging around here in Springfield, leaving me to dream of warmer days in places like San Diego.

I have decided to share a warm spring memory from a not-so-warm former duty station of ours to get everyone in the mood for bluebirds and cherry blossoms.

My story takes place during our second year in Carlisle, Pa., when Uncle Sam sent Ron to Okinawa without the boys and me.

Winter was especially hard to take that year without Ron around. It seemed colder and longer than the previous year, plus I was the one who had to clean up after Glory in the snow.

I was surprised and delighted when a robin decided to build her nest in Ron’s truck that spring.

To me, the appearance of those bird eggs signaled the official arrival of spring. I made it my goal to keep Glory away from them until the birds had hatched and flown away to safety.

But Glory was not my biggest obstacle to overcome.

Ron had an unscheduled trip back to the States, and suddenly, the very home Mama Bird had worked so hard to build was being threatened.

The nest was on the right rear wheel of his truck, making it impossible to drive …at least in my opinion.

Ron thought he had every right to drive his big manly truck around Carlisle, something he claimed to miss almost as much as the dog. (I’m not sure where the boys and I rank on that list!)

But I put my foot down, insisting no one was going to bother that nest. Watching that mother bird work so hard had caused me to admire her, and I could relate to her struggle to hold things together without a father bird in sight.

So Ron drove the Suburban instead, and all five eggs hatched days after he went back to the island.

That’s when I could really relate to the job the bird was facing, as she constantly flew around in search of food for those hungry little yapping babies. Just like my boys, the only time they were quiet was when they were asleep!

It wasn’t long before all those snacks Mama Bird delivered worked their magic and the little birdies weren’t so little anymore.

She didn’t have to push them out of the nest. Because there were five of them, the nest became so overcrowded that the babies just sort of plopped onto the ground one by one.

They puttered around the yard, going in five different directions, while the mother bird squawked at them from the air. I assume she was telling them to get off the ground and fly, because that’s what they all did.

Finally, I could relax and stop worrying about the tiny creatures struggling to begin their lives in our driveway.

I hope the mother bird got a chance to rest after all that nest-building, egg-sitting and worm-delivering. Maybe she even sat back and watched me for a change as I ran myself ragged trying to do the job of two parents.

The biggest favor she did for me had nothing to do with the promise of spring.

By choosing to place her nest in the truck, the mother bird gave me something to think about besides my own worries. Sometimes that’s all I really needed in the first place.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has been married to a Marine for 18 years and currently lives in Springfield, Va. You may e-mail her at homefront@stripes.osd.mil or visit her Web site at www.lifeonthehomefront.com.

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