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Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to Ewe and You!

The Farmer decided to let the ewes and lambs out of the barn in honour of the nicer weather. Or maybe it was in honour of Mother’s Day. Out in the open pasture, the little ones are continually getting separated from their mothers. All I can hear is the sound of hoarse little lambs going “Maaaa-aaaah!” Some of the ewes answer, while others don’t. The unresponsive ones aren’t necessarily bad mothers. They might be just a little preoccupied.
The day before Mother’s Day found me in Walmart. I watched a frazzled mother juggling two kids in the lineup at McDonald’s. One little guy, kicking his foot impatiently against the hip he was resting on, lost his shoe. His eyes followed the colourful sneaker as he and his mother slowly moved away from it and towards their table. He started to wail in some indecipherable baby gibberish that only made sense to him. The young mum tried to shush him as she fit him into his high chair. Finally she noticed her son was missing his footwear and retraced her steps to retrieve the shoe. Little man sniffled and shivered and reached for a French fry.
As I watched from my vantage point across the crowd, I was instantly transported back in time about 18 years. I had a side-by-side stroller with two little girls in it. The larger child was four years old and her little sister was one. I was pregnant with my third. My back ached and my feet throbbed. I was in a hurry to get through the crowd of slow-moving shoppers so we could go home. The baby needed a nap. She was getting cranky. It seemed that she was getting fussier and more agitated with every step I took. I moved more quickly. The grumbling turned into a wail. “Anastasia! Would you please give me a break!” I hissed as I finally reached the end of the mall, opened the door and navigated the stroller outside. It was then that I noticed her shoe was missing. And Milena had a really guilty look on her face.
“Did you take your sister’s shoe off?” I asked her, putting two and two together.
“It’s in the stowah,” she smiled, pointing back down the long mall. Sigh.
I searched for 30 minutes and never did find that shoe. Damn side-by-side strollers.
Eighteen years ago. Eighteen months ago, it seems. And now my last baby bird is preparing her wings for flight. I worry she won’t have nice roommates. I worry she won’t eat properly. That she won’t be safe. Or happy. I have to try to keep my worries to myself. And be proud of the independent young woman I have helped to raise.
On our wedding day, the Farmer and I wanted our five daughters to play an important part in the ceremony. We had them each read a verse from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.
As Mother’s Day passes by for another year, let’s remind ourselves what it’s all about:
“Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; for even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”
Happy Mother’s Day, everyone.

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