Since it is close to Mothers' Day Weekend I thought I'd say a little something on the matter. Now, I'm not sure any of it will make sense, but I'll give it a go.
I'm reading "The River Why" (again) by David James Duncan. It's a crazy, weird book and seems even crazier and weirder the 2nd time around. Anyways, I was reading this one chapter and a couple of the paragraphs really reflected to me on some of the essense of motherhood.
In this chapter the narrator was describing how one winter he had to go out and try to sell Christmas cards to his neighbors. He didn't want to do it, but had to. One day he was out and realized it was almost time for his favorite TV program, "Gadabout Gaddis Show" to come on. He was on his bike, and thus began to pedal home very quickly.
"I remembered why I'd never bicycled down that side of the street before. . . I peeked toward the backyard: the Doberman hung high above the fence, its insane eyes rivetted to my ten-year-old flesh. When its feet struck earth it let out a Baskerville howl that turned my brians to cottage cheese. Blind and sick with panic, I set my crummy bike pedals whirring like an egg beater, hoping like any terrified young coyote to make it home to the proetection of my ferocious mother. . . I plowed straight into the curb, caving in my front rim, but clung somehow to the lurching bike, crossing our yard now and screaming 'MAAAAA! MAAAAA!' Then the Doberman sprang, hit my shoulder and sent me sprawling like a gunned jackrabbit. I curled instinctively into a ball, waiting for the beast to gut me, so drunk with horroor I thought I only imagined the explosion in my ears. But when the attack never came I uncurled just enough to see what delayed it. The Doberman lay quivering and jerking on the lawn a few feet away, its eyes rolled back, its tongue lolling out and turning gray, a hole in its chest the size of a cantaloupe. I squinted toward the house. There stood Ma, twelve-gauge still smoking and the wildest green-eyed grin I'd ever seen on her face. She said, 'Got'm.'"
So first case in point on moms is SURVIVAL. Not for ourselves, however, but for our young and relatively defenseless. We hear all the times of selfless, brave mothers risking their lives to save their kiddos' lives. There is almost nothing a mom wouldn't do to help one of her children in danger - not only physical, but also emotional, mental, etc.
Later in the chapter it reads:
"Ma's account of how she happened to be in the yard with her shotgun at the very moment the Doberman attacked was quite simple: she reasoned that since Gadabout Gaddis' show had started I'd be hurrying, that in my hurry I might forget the Doberman, that hurrying children were its favorite prey, and that the world would be a better place without the Doberman; so she jumped up from the TV, grabbed the shotgun (it's always loaded), heard the tires and me shrieking as she rounded the house, took aim and squeezed the trigger. . . "
So another case in point. This mother wasn't just sitting at home while her boy was out and mindlessly watching TV. No way. Maybe the TV was on but where were her thoughts? On her boy, of course! No matter how far a mom is, in the mental or physical sense, she is never ever ever far from her children. Never. Sure there are moments when it's just you and you revel in it, but your thoughts are never far from being focused, at least somewhat, on your kids.
And this mother showed incredible. . . intelligence. I won't call it intuition. Sure, intuition is alive and well with most mothers, but I believe intelligence (when it comes to Her Kids) is a stronger influence in mothers. The mom in the book was thinking and planning and knew exactly what her son would be thinking, and thus doing, as well. Mothers constantly think and plan ahead in regards to kids. They are intelligent women with regards to their jobs.
The narrator described intelligence as "native intelligence."
"A native is a man or creature or plant inigenious to a limited geographical area - a space boundaried and defined by mountains, rivers or coastline, with its own peculair mixture of weeds, trees, bugs, bireds, flowers, streams, hills, rocks, and critters, its own nuances of rain, wind and seasonal change. Native intelligence develops through an unspoken or soft-spoken relationship with these interwoven things: it evolves as the native involves himself in his region. A non-native awakes in the morning in a body in a bed in a room in a building on a street in a country in a state in a nation. A native awakes in the center of a little cosmos - or a big one if his intelligence is vast - and he wears this cosmos like a robe, sense the barely preceptible shiftings, migrations, moods and machinations of its creatures, its growing green things, its earth and
Now, for me to put it in Mothers' Native Intelligence:
A mom is a woman indigenous to a limited geographical area - a space boundaried and defined by walls, doors, and hallways, with its own peculiar mixtures of children, cars, balls, sticky things, pokey things, dirt, rocks, crumbs, socks and playdough, its own nuances of whines, screams, cries, moans and temperment change. Mother-intelligence develops through an unspoken or soft-spoken relationship with these interwoven things: it evolves as the mom involves herself in her home and with her kids. A non-mom awakes in the morning in a body in a bed in a room in a building on a street in a county in a state in a nation. A mom awakens to shrieks of "Mama! Mama! Dadada! Whaaaaaa" at ungodly hours in the morning. A mother senses the barely perceptible moans, the slight pushes of one child to his younger sibling, true meanings behind what is actually spoken, and the differences of a "real" cry versus a "fake" one of her creatures.
(Italics are the author's original words)
Yes, we are mothers. Amazing mothers. And I thank all the wonderful "mothers" I've had in my life: school teachers, church leaders, my mother-in-law. But mostly I thank My Mom. Thank you, you were and are great and I love you. And I am truly happy that I have chosen the most difficult and challenging of ALL professions out there, Motherhood.
God bless the experienced mothers - they deserve it.
God bless the new mothers - they need it.