It’s Anna’s birthday today. I was very pregnant with her 21 years ago when the cows were calving. I helped with chores like usual that year, but avoided being around the barn if Mark was assisting a difficult birth. Not what you want to see when you’re mentally preparing for your own delivery!
It’s the time of year when we appreciate good mothers more than ever. You can never, ever replace what a mom gives. Cow or human.
We have an orphan calf in the barn. Mark figures she was a twin that got left behind when the cow wandered off with the other calf. She's nursing a bottle and doing okay, but she really needs her own mother that will get her up every few hours to nurse, lick her, fuss over her and teach her how to be a cow.
One year when the kids were little, we had a mama cat get hit on the road and left four kittens behind. I bought a tiny nursing bottle and some kitten milk replacer and thought I could keep them alive. It was an absolute mess. They didn’t nurse the bottle much and cried continually. They were covered with their own feces and urine and so frantic to suck that they sucked on each other in unmentionable places. I tried bathing them, but in a few hours their skinny bodies were filthy again. It was heartbreaking.
By luck we had a cousin that had a mama cat with only one kitten, and yes, we were welcome to come get them. We put the kittens in a box with the cat and she immediately accepted them, licking them clean and nursing them along with her own. Like magic the kittens were buttery soft and content. I’ve never looked at mothering the same way since.
Men are great. They build stuff, protect us, make money, fix things and tackle all the many tasks that go into maintaining healthy families. They’re strong and steady and build nations. But mothering is pivotal, the job we foundationally cannot do without. And whether mom or dad does it (or shares it) “mothering,” the most momentous of callings, still needs done.
|following mom to a new field at only 2 days old|