Lessons in Motherhood {From a Duck}

duck mama

She sits, day in and day out, barely moving an inch.  She settles down deep into her nest made of straw and feathers from her very own chest. She takes the brunt of the cold, harsh winter, so the young ones beneath her are shielded.  The ducklings, they are not fully developed yet.  They have yet to break forth into this wide world.  This mother…she waits. Patient, determined, self-sacrificing, she gives up her life in order that they would have life.  The other ducks are waddling about and flapping their wings with excitement in the lush, green field.  They are thrilled with the abundance of bugs to eat and the refreshing pond that awaits them.  The gate is open, she could join them.  However, this mother chooses to stay planted atop her eggs until they are ready.  She resolves to put off the wonderful things that beckon her.  The grass, the bugs, the pond…they will still be there when her sitting is over.  She sits content as she embraces her current task…to develop, to protect, to nurture her young.  All the while, knowing her time will come. Her time will come.  As I watch her, I feel a strange correlation. I can relate.

Fourteen years ago, as I walked down the aisle toward the man of my dreams, I had ambitions, goals, and at the very least, a year of college left. Three months after we said “I do,” I found myself gripping a little white stick with a pink plus sign in fear and trembling.  My husband, three years older than me and settled in a career, rejoiced.  I cried.  I wasn’t ready to be a mother.  This wasn’t how it was supposed to be.  I was supposed to finish college, then enter a thrilling career as a woman in a white lab coat who studied behavior, compiled data, and wrote books about her findings.  I eventually warmed up to the idea and pushed through my last year of college with an itty bitty learner growing inside me.  I walked across that graduation platform, great with child under that black tent of a gown.  Just one month later, I became a mother

Nothing could’ve prepared me for how quickly and deeply I’d fall in love with my first born.  I plunged into motherhood with great ease.  That’s not to say it was all easy, or that I didn’t still dream of what may be out there for me beyond these tender years.  Your time will come, the Spirit would admonish, through long nights of little cries.  I would race to remedy the empty bellies, soaked through jammies, and swollen, hurting gums. I would swaddle, rock and caress as they drifted back to a state of all is right in the world.  This is the time you were designed for right now.  This moment…soak it in, find joy in it, lose yourself in it, for it will be over before you want it to be… the Great Counselor would advise.  So I did just that, I absorbed motherhood.  It became who I was, the very essence of the blood running through my veins.  I embraced my calling to develop, protect and nurture my little human beings.  I put my yearnings for green pastures of a career aside, and sat still on my nest.   I agree, it’s over all too quickly.

This past fall, I watched my youngest bounce eagerly toward the giant double doors of elementary school.  The last of my ducklings has waddled away from the protection of my bosom, my heart, my core.  I feel as if a part of me is dying. At times, I feel like our duck when she steps away from her nest briefly to eat or drink, my feathers get ruffled and I’m a bit out of sorts!  What now? I seek direction, look for answers in His word, listen in the quiet for His voice. I am reminded that while there will always be death, there will also be new life. New creation. New perspective. New opportunity. Your time has come, whispers The Lord.  It’s time to acknowledge the giftings and passions I’ve so carefully placed in you. Don’t worry, you will not be leaving motherhood, for it is your highest calling. They are still a part of you, growing with you. They can walk, and they will follow.  So, follow me on this new path. Your time is here.  What has just happened? All from watching a mother duck? An epiphany of sorts, here in this sweet little cottage. I love when The Lord speaks! He has spoken here greatly. The green pasture feels good beneath my feet. I have waited and I am ready.