It’s the end of Mother’s Day and my heart is full of gratitude! Walking out I am surrounded by my ewes who are proving to be wonderful mothers. When I look at how the sheep love and care for their lambs it makes me think of my mother, and her love for me. I have many laughs at how many things they do that remind me of all human mothers, not necessarily just mine!!!
Having had a whopping 3 (!!) lambs born on our farm to date, I have been able to observe three very distinct types of mothering. I was not prepared for seeing such differences, and it’s been great fun!
Allie was first to have Daisy back in March. Unfortunately for Daisy she arrived without a sibling and with no other lambs born around her time. Her three aunts were all very sweet to her- which caused some angry headbutting from Allie, her very overprotective mother. After giving birth Allie tolerated me, but just barely. She stomped her foot when she spotted Scott and Annika and very clearly showed us that she’d rather have us not be there at all. When Annika was putting a coat on Daisy, Alma did in fact jump up on her… which didn’t endear her much to Annika- LOL! Her Daisy has taken the longest to become really friendly with us as she picked up on mom’s cues…clearly we were not to be trusted! As she grew she eventually made her own discoveries and realized that our hands often held treats, and she is now – at 2 months- getting to be quite sweet and often comes up for some attention.
Then we have Anna whom we call our “Power Flower Mom”. She had her baby without us there but she had no issues with any of us touching her little boy whom we named Bamse. His name means Teddy Bear in Swedish and he’s certainly living up to it. The reason I call Anna my Flower Power mom is because she has this “que sera sera” attitude about her offspring. A day after giving birth I let Anna and Bamse out for a bit of air.. and she happily just walked right up the hill to a grassy patch, not looking back once to see if her little lamb was able to follow or not. Luckily he was. Anna loves food so when she is out grassing she will simply just keep moving on- leaving her little Bamse napping in a field or next to a tree.
Bamse seems to prefer hanging around us and get cuddles. He is SUCH a charmer!
My third mom is Alma. She is my “Helicopter Mom.” Her little Buttercup can’t be more than a few steps behind her without her either calling for her or turning around to check on her. The first week she angrily pushed little Bamse away when he came too close to Buttercup but now seem to realize that his mom is abandoning him far too much (in her opinion), so she has stepped into active baby sitting duty! Buttercup and Bamse are basically inseparable. Where you find one, you find the other- and Alma!!
Buttercup is much more careful; she keeps her distance more than Bamse, but much less than Daisy. She is full of jumps and personality and stays close to mom, straying only when Bamse is getting her in trouble, but is always quick to answers mom’s calls!
The one thing they all have in common is that they all love their babies unconditionally- even when some come out looking like a different breed with their black little noses! Our own children are not always like us either, which can prove hard when we don’t understand why or how our kids- or our moms- can react so differently than what we expect. That is when we need that unconditional love.
I am very grateful for my mother who does love me unconditionally- even through-out my teenage years of which she said; “You were 15 for 5 years!!” She supports me, pushes me to do and give my best (annoying at times), gives me her honest opinion (which of course I didn’t want as a teenager trying on a new outfit but that I value now), she counsels with me and sets an example for me in a million different ways. Many of the things she did, I didn’t even realize until I had my own children. I continuously learn from her example and wisdom. When I was discussing my upcoming marriage to Scott with her and I wondered aloud how it would be to have him travelling for work, and for him to divide his time between 3 states on top of that. (At the time he worked in CT, had most of his children in PA and was planning on living with me in MA. My mom’s immediate response was to express her support. My dad travelled all the time, every week for many years when we were young kids. My mother expressed her gratitude for him working so hard, and his sacrifice of being away from his family all the time for work. She told me that she made certain that all the trivial things of housekeeping were done so that when he came home the weekends were easy and fun and friction free. She told me how much she admired my dad for always being willing to go do things with us all on the weekends in spite of probably being travel wary after a week away and how she learned to like doing things her own way while he was gone. She said she looked forward to every weekend when he came home- it was like a mini vacation.
I realized how much my mother’s chosen attitude to her circumstance has benefitted not only my dad but me and my sister as well. A more selfish woman could complain about being left alone all the time, resenting having to be the sole caregiver of the children week after week. No one is saying it’s easy or not justified to feel like that, but that attitude would have harmed their relationship and it would have harmed my and my sister’s relationship with our dad. Mothers and children are so tightly connected most of the time, and if mom is not happy with dad and complains of him being absent… I am forever grateful for a mother who made life seem so easy, fun and magical. Who always knew what to do, and how to fix everything.
A couple of turkeys! Me and my mom.
I know celebrating Mother’s Day is hard for many. For those of you who are troubled and hurting, I wish you peace. “Mother” is a title that belongs to all women, whether we have lost a child, a mother or are unable to conceive our own child. Not all are fortunate to have good mothers as examples. There are many mothering styles, but we are all important, we all have worth, no matter what. On Mother’s Day I not only think of my mom but of all the many women in my life for whom I’m grateful and thankful: mothers and mothers-in-law, sisters and sisters-in-law, daughters, my many good friends, women I haven’t met but that I’ve read about and that inspire me, even women I don’t actually care much for or even like, but who make me think, grow and question the way I see things. You all have a place of gratitude and love.