The Ripple: The parallel of motherhood and letting go
Mother's Day is one of my favorite days of the year. We always get together and enjoy each other and an enormous brunch somewhere that allows for all of us mom's not to cook. We exchange flowers, cards and camaraderie and celebrate the family we ...
Mother's Day is one of my favorite days of the year. We always get together and enjoy each other and an enormous brunch somewhere that allows for all of us mom's not to cook. We exchange flowers, cards and camaraderie and celebrate the family we have become. I truly look forward to the time.
This Mother's Day, however, was slightly different for me as one of my children (my daughter) was unable to be with us for the first time ever. We still had a wonderful day but it was not the same without her.
I am learning as I get older and my children get older as well that the time together becomes less frequent and much more valued than ever before. This made me pause for a moment when thinking about our cow mammas and the process they experience each and every year at this very time.
One of the primary traits that Hereford cattle are known for is their mothering ability. They are considered to be some of the best mothers there are.
I have watched them over the years during calving season. The care and discipline they exhibit in taking care of their calves and those in the herd is fascinating to watch. If a calf is born on pasture, the cow will actually hide the calf for at least three days until she deems it strong enough to join the herd. She will place it somewhere out of sight, direct it to stay put and then return regularly to feed and care for it. In fact, my farmer husband has actually tripped right over a calf that was hidden while out searching for it, and the mother would not let on as to where it was.
Once strong enough to be introduced to the herd, it will join the ranks of the other calves and the mother cows will take turns supervising the whole group to ensure they are safe. Additionally these tireless mothers will bathe their calves, protect them from any and all things they deem threatening, including humans, and feed them at any and all times of the day.
I appreciate the good mothers they are.
At this time of year we are weaning calves. Meaning we will take them off of their mothers, with the intent of providing a break for the cows to recuperate before giving birth to another calf later in the year, and prepare the calves for sale.
This process, while normal and permanent, does cause a bit of a stir for a couple of days as both parties involved get used to the new situation. Cows call for calves and calves call for cows. It gets real noisy for a couple of days while everyone settles into the new situation. I am watching the calves now as I am writing this column comfortably resting in the weaning pen. They have been given their vaccination boosters, weighed and looked over to make sure they are healthy. We keep them close to the house and barn so that we can monitor any signs of stress or sickness. This group is doing well. They are beginning the move into adulthood. Slowly but surely, their mothers begin to move out further from the view of the weaning pen, accepting that it is time to let go.
It dawned on me this week that I am experiencing the very same thing right now as a mom.
My children are becoming adults and they are moving into new roles in their lives as well. I find the parallel interesting. Some of these calves will become mothers, some breeding bulls, while others will be sold and harvested to provide food for people all over the world. And then the cycle will start all over.
I am so very thankful for good mothers. Without them, life as we know it would cease to exist in every way.