A Hummingbird Moment

The garage door opens, “Mom, hurry! Come here!”

“What’s wrong?” I wipe my hands dry with a kitchen towel.

My husband opens the door. “Shelli, hurry, it’s a hummingbird.”

What? I’ve bought two hummingbird feeders, and the only thing I’ve seen feeding from them are grasshoppers, the size of hummingbirds.

My daughter slips under my husband’s arm, and she’s cupping the tiny thing in her hand. She’s really holding a hummingbird.

“Let me grab the camera.” I run like lightning for the camera and return, opening the garage door. The tiny thing is sitting so contentedly in the palm of my daughter’s hand. Maybe it’s too frightened to move. I take a picture here, a picture there. “What happened?” I ask.

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My daughter tells me that while her best bud was leaving through the garage, the bird hit the fluorescent light. She shut off the light. Her friend saw it land on the shelf and took it down. “Its little wings were spread apart, so I placed it in my hand and folded its wings back into place.” She smiles.

“It was probably confused by the light,” my husband says. “How many people can say they’ve held a hummingbird?”

I marvel at that for a minute.

“Okay, let’s let it go,” says my husband.

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I run into the kitchen to put down my camera. I fly back out the garage door, past the car, and make my way to the darkened sky, to where my family is gathered.

“I opened my hand, and it flew away,” says my daughter, smiling. “It was so soft.”

“It was so soft,” declares my other daughter.

“It flew strong,” everyone says.

“I heard a thud,” someone says.

“No, that was a crow, Mom,” daughter says, possibly rolling her eyes. “It flew strong. I just barely opened my fingers and it took off.”

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Why did I put away the camera? I could have video-taped the moment. I could have left the camera on the car or put it around my neck. I stand there in confusion, a finger touching my temple. I wonder how, in the midst of everything, I missed nearly everything. And the fog clears …

I had hovered right over it, and yet, I didn’t feel it. I missed the softness. I could have touched a real, live hummingbird.

I was so close, and yet, I didn’t see it fly strongly.

I love taking photographs, capturing our lives. I enjoy seeing the world through a camera lens, but nothing can replace the real thing, real life, the real moments in time seen through our eyes. Sometimes we can get a bit confused, get lost in technicalities, get distracted, and head toward the wrong light.

Sometimes we need a hummingbird moment for a little redirection. 

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(And right here is where a video could have been inserted. Ha! But notice the 2 grasshoppers on the door in the picture above)


The morning after, I plop down on my daughter’s bed and laugh at her puzzled expression. “Tell me about the hummingbird.”

“Mom, you seriously sound just like Pockets from Hatari! …” She laughs (That’s a John Wayne movie we’ve seen a thousand times).

“But I missed everything. I didn’t feel it’s softness. I didn’t see it fly strongly.”

She snuggles up to me. “It’s okay, Mom. I barely saw it.”

“It was fast, wasn’t it?”

She nods.

“You opened the garage door and told me to hurry,” I say …

And we relive the story together once again.

Do you have a hummingbird moment you’d care to share about? A moment where you needed a little redirection.

13 thoughts on “A Hummingbird Moment

  1. I think you caught the moment just fine, Shelli. You gave us a gift.

    A note – if you ever find a hummingbird that is easy to pick up, it may have ‘run out of gas’; they use a huge amount of energy.

    Mix up a bit of sugar water, and give the hummer the opportunity to drink. Then, stand back, because it’ll fairly explode into joyous life again.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Andrew. It’s like a once in a lifetime occurrence. Think it would really drink out of our hands? That’s incredible. Wish I had thought to do that. They are just amazing little things.


  2. Jane Pontone

    So special what a treat I also would be in a flap trying to catch the moment 💚You did well Shelli the hummingbird is beautiful the amazing colours how it shines 💚 Thank you for sharing such a wonderful experience 💚 X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jane! ❤ It's such a balance, isn't it … trying to take it all in but wanting to capture the moment, too. I don't know why I didn't reach out and touch it … guess I thought I had to hurry … maybe thinking it would take off any moment. I'm glad it stayed still in Katelyn's hand until she went outside … could have gotten hurt in the garage if it had tried to fly in there again. ❤ You are a blessing to my life.


  3. Dear Shelli, what a beautiful capture of the hummingbird and lesson you’ve shared with us. Your post is a wonderful example of how a family is the gift that keeps on giving to mamas. I have many “hummingbird moments” where I’ve missed being in the present. The one that first comes to mind was when I cutting my youngest son’s hair for the last time. He goes to a barber now that he’s no longer living at home. As I trimmed the blond hair off his head, the poignancy of the moment flew right over my head—until it was too late. Grace redeemed it and turned it into a life lesson because God is always on time. His Love is never late. ❤ Thank you for your honest from-the-heart writing. Your words always bless me.
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jennifer! ❤ We sure have our skunk experience, too. When we had Tipper, our German Shepherd … she got sprayed at least 3 times. I became a professional. The first time … that girl despised baths, but she ran straight into the bathtub, begging for help, relief. The skunk sprayed her face. Of course. We had just moved into our "new" old home, had new carpet, new everything. And now, new everything that smelled like skunk. Ha ha! We just had to laugh about it. Sweet memories. I miss that dog. xoxo


  4. Awww, Shelli. This post resonated with me. On Wednesday, my youngest had his last day of sixth grade. His years of elementary school officially came to an end. The 69 students shared a poem and a song from the Hobbit with the teary adults in the audience. I was so busy trying video the song that I spent more time looking at the screen than at my confident son. And then what? I discovered my phone didn’t film the video. I realized I spend a lot of time taking pictures, but not as much time just being in the moment. That morning convinced me to become a little more intentional about engaging without a camera being a part of the mix.

    How COOL that your daughter got to hold a hummingbird!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeanne, I’m thankful I’m not the only one learning these lessons. It never ends. 🙂 I went to a graduation ceremony recently … waited so long for our friend’s turn to come … when it came … it’s like I missed it. I don’t know how, but I missed it. I think someone video-taped it … so I want to watch it again. Maybe I didn’t totally miss it. 🙂 Maybe I just need a reminder. I’m getting older, I guess. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Shirlee Abbott

    Some moments are preserved in our hearts. Your daughter had one such moment, and she was generous to share it with the family. No photo (and yours are exquisite) can capture the full wonder of that moment. It’s hers, and she will treasure it forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Shirlee … yes, it’s one of those moments she’ll always remember. We’ll be talking about it for years to come … if the Lord gives us that many days. ❤ I so pray He does. I want more moments to capture and miss. ha ha. ❤


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