This week is not ending the way I hoped. In my head, we would take the month old ducklings to my parents. They would run, play and flap their little wings. We would laugh as they frolicked in the water and splashed with their momma. We would throw out some food and walk away patting ourselves on the back for a job well done.
But nature is cruel and we didn’t make it to ‘release day’. Instead, I cried, took down the fence, filled in the makeshift water ponds and cussed a coyote or two.
I have however sat around for a few days and been in amazement at how perfect God is. From the beginning, like the Genesis Bible beginning, God prepared, even a momma duck, for the job of motherhood.
Here are my top ten:
10. Sacrifice everything for your family: Texas Spring Hail Storms, roof replaced, neighborhood kids, me, not eating, sitting for 28 days…She didn’t waver. That’s what Momma’s do. Just watch a momma who needs to slam on her brakes, she will throw an arm out of socket and possibly leave a bruise on her front seat passenger trying to protect her family.
9. Mommas really are the only person a child needs in the first few days of life: She knew just what to do when they were hatching. She kept the eggs that hadn’t hatched underneath her and rotated them to the top while fluffing herself so that the new babies could dry. When we went to the hospital to have Mikayla, Jeremy and I hadn’t attended our childbirth class yet. She was early and I was scared. When we got to the hospital, I told the nurse, “I don’t know what to do. I haven’t been to my class.” She quickly replied, “You will know what to do. I promise and I will be here to help you.” Sure enough, I sat, rotated and then fluffed myself on the way into the operating room where they sedated, cut and pulled the baby out. Maybe not like nature!
8. Your babies will do what you do: If Momma Duck got in the water, the babies got in. If she ate corn, the babies ate corn. If she preened her feathers, the babies did too. It was a reminder that my girls will do, say and act like me, no matter how good, bad or ugly my example may be.
7. Sometimes you need a break from it all: Even Momma ducks need a break from 12 babies. She didn’t need to go far. She just needed a few minutes to herself. She would sit right outside the sanctuary while the babies were begging her to come back in, and just close her eyes. Young mommies, this is for you. You are not being a bad momma if you don’t spend every waking (or sleeping) moment with your new baby. You need to take care of yourself and sometimes that means just going to the bathroom for 5 minutes without a baby in your lap.
6. Sometimes you need to eat the lettuce: After about a week, Momma duck was not eating the wheat and corn. I started to get very concerned. So I grabbed some lettuce and threw it in the pen. She looked at me like I just threw her a lifeline. In 20 minutes, she had eaten all of it. (I’m not going to make any more comments about this subject but every once in a while…eat the lettuce.)
5. Listen to the thunder but run from lightning: We laughed that over 55 days, our Momma Duck predicted the weather better than Pete Delkus. She moved her babies around the duck sanctuary depending on what her senses told her about the weather. The teenage years are when this one makes the most sense for human mommies. Lots and lots of thunder around our kids but let there be no doubt what we are capable of doing at the first sign of lightning.
4. Let water and worries roll off your back: It rained three days after the babies hatched and I was worried about them getting wet. My man reminded me, they were ducks, water rolls off their backs. Well, he was right. Those little babies didn’t even mind the rain. They actually loved it. All of my worrying and they just let it roll off of their backs. God helps worries roll so give it to Him. He’s got you!
3. Quack enough and often so your children will always know what your tone means: I have said I love you to my girls probably a million times. But some of them were said with different tones. The “I’m-so-glad-you-stayed-asleep-after-I-laid-you-in-your-crib” tone– I love you. The “If-you-slam-the-door-again-while-I’m-talking-to-you” tone–I love you. The “You-better-be-glad-daddy-didn’t-find-out-about-your-late-arrival-at-home” tone–I love you. And the “I-can’t-believe-I-get-to-be-your-mommy” tone–I love you.
2. Daddy Ducks only come around after everyone has been fed and bathed: How in the world did he know that the babies had eaten and had a fresh swim when he would fly in and land in the pool? It was the craziest thing every night. He knew they were all taken care of and just wanted to check on the momma. Some nights she would make her way out to say “hi” but most days he would survey the scene and then fly away. (I will say, after the tragic end to their family, Daddy duck didn’t leave Momma Duck’s side. It was very sweet to watch them taking care of and mourning with each other.)
1. One of the most important things to teach your babies is to shake their tail feathers: Everything in our world is too serious. We don’t spend enough time just laughing, having fun and shaking our tail feathers. At my niece’s recent wedding, it was clear that our family is not afraid to have fun. We didn’t care if people laughed at us because we were laughing. We didn’t care if people stared at us because we were busy having fun. We didn’t care if people shook their heads because we were busy shaking our tail feathers.
To my amazing Momma and to all you Mommies out there …I wish you a day filled with love, laughter and a little time to yourself. Happy Mother’s Day