Clan of the Mother Bears

“Perhaps it’s human nature: We want to shield our children from pain, and what we get instead is life and heartache and lessons that bring us to our knees. Sooner or later we are handed the brute, necessary curriculum of surrender, we have no choice, then but to bow our heads and learn. We struggle to accept that our children’s destinies are not ours to write, their battles not ours to fight, their bruises not ours to bear, nor their victories ours to take credit for. We learn humility and how to ask for help. We learn to let go even when every fiber of our being yearns to hold on even tighter.”
Katrina Kenison, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment

It is snowing. Again.

Just fluffy wisps instead of sloppy flakes like the ones yesterday that collected on the bare branches in the woods and melted an hour later. Today, the snow is anemic, an apology. Even Mother Nature has to know that snow in April is just dumb. Despite the fits and starts of spring around here, the birds are singing.  Isn’t that sound one of the loveliest gifts that early April offers? Winged creatures do not trouble themselves with being mad about a little snow in April. They do not sit in bud-less branches scowling and shaking their wings at Mother Nature.  Birds know that Spring will come when it comes. They know how to give up control.

This morning, a young mom I know and love like a sister is in a hospital waiting room. Her oldest daughter is undergoing heart surgery. This friend of mine is a really good mom of four amazing humans. Last night, when I texted her to ask how she was holding up pre-surgery, I got the response that I was expecting.  Two words. “I’m not.”

What a dumb question.

My friend hates surprises. A hole in her child’s heart was a huge, grossly unwelcome one. She believes that if she can just stay on top of her game and remain vigilant that the monsters under the bed of this thing called Life won’t touch her babies. And like most moms, she would stand in front of truck to protect her kids because she is a mother bear. But, here’s the deal. Today, the monster truck bearing down on her sweet daughter is congenital and out of her control in the most frightening of ways.  She can’t do a single thing but pray and hope that the surgeon brought his A game into the operating room to repair her child’s broken heart.  It is hard , SO hard, to be both a mere mortal and a mother. My young friend’s own heart will break a little bit today, as the universe reminds her of this fact.

Knowing what we can control, and what we simply can’t, will do that to a mother bear’s heart every time.


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