The sun is peeking over the horizon and the birds are starting their daily routine of flying from their nests hidden deep in the scrubs around our house to find food for their hatchlings. It is a constant flight path for these birds that have brought new life into the world. Every once in a while we will see a new family of geese swimming by in the canal behind our house. The male, the female and anywhere from eight to ten little ones swimming as hard as they can to keep up. We also seem to have a new family of rabbits that have taken up residence in our back yard, calling our fire pit home. Now since we have all this new, young life in our own back yard we have also inherited the presence of a looming hawk. He sits in one of the palm trees in silence and watches. He watches for any movement and listens for any sound of a small one in distress. Luckily, we have not seen the hawk grab up any of the young rabbits, birds or geese. It has always amazed me the commitment that animals put into raising their young. The dove’s for example that had a nest in a palm tree, the male would sit on the nest all day and the female would sit there all night, never leaving their young unprotected. All animals that produce offspring have their own, sometimes crazy, way of protecting their young. Just like us humans, no two sets of parents raise their children the same, they don’t protect them the same and they don’t push them out of the nest at the same time. Before becoming a parent, my biggest fear was becoming a parent. I always had those questions swirling around in my mind. Would I be a good dad? Would I be able to provide everything my children needed? What if I made some horrible mistake and caused severe issues for the rest of the child’s life. Would I do a good job of protecting them from this crazy world? Am I ready to be a father, am I ready for this life long commitment? As the old saying goes, “If you wait until your ready, you will never do it.” Unlike us humans, animals don’t have these thoughts. It is built into them to create new life, raise it and protect it until the time comes to send them on their way, hoping they have taught them everything they need to know to stay out of the deadly grasp of the hawks talons. Being a father I always felt it was my job to protect my children, from the monsters under the bed, the bullies at school, and the sharks that swim the daily waters of life. I sometimes wanted to be Captain Kirk on the Enterprise and order Mr. Sulu to put up the force field around each of them to protect them when I was not with them. Knowing this is not possible, when they reach that age when they are venturing out on their own, you hope and pray that you have taught them how to make decisions on their own, how to be a good person and how to avoid the situations that put them in the direct path of the ever looming hawk. As a father, when you lose a child, wheather it be to disease, a horrible act of another human being or an accident, there are so many different emotions running through your brain, your heart and your soul. I personally felt somewhat like a failure. I felt it was my job to protect Lindsay and keep her safe. It took a long time, after her passing, for me to realize I could not protect her forever. I could not be with her twenty four hours a days telling her which way to go, how to get there, or what decisions to make that would untimely determine her path in life. As her father for seventeen years I had to trust that I had done everything I could to prepare her for any situation she confronted. For those animals that mate for life I wonder if they remember their first offspring, do they worry about where they are, do they hope they did good job as parents? I really don’t think that is part of their way of life, or how their animal brain works. For us human parents those thoughts never stop. All we want is for our children to be happy and safe. I would give anything to go back to the day of Lindsay’s accident, I would give anything to change the actions of that evening. I would give anything to have been there, to stop that hawk.