Universal motherhood—a mother and a doe

I think I figured out this morning why the lame doe that frequents our yard bothers me so much. No one likes to see an animal suffer, and in particular, no one likes to see a juvenile animal suffer. If the lame doe has a life-threatening disease, her fawn will be orphaned.

But that’s not the whole reason it bothers me so much.

No one likes to see a person suffer, and in particular, no one likes to see a juvenile person suffer. But most, if not all, of us have and do all the time. I have permanently imprinted on my mind the women, young mothers, I knew who either were disabled or died leaving behind small children:

Michelle, mother of a one-year-old daughter, who had a severe stroke and was in a coma for weeks with a long road of rehabilitation ahead of her

Joann, mother of three children in grades K – 3, who was diagnosed with liver cancer and died about a year later

Candy, mother of 4 or 5 children and grandmother of a one-year-old, who was diagnosed with breast cancer and died after several years of treatment.

Irene, mother of kids in high school, who got ALS and slowly lost all of her abilities to function and then died.

I suspect you could make a list of your own. It’s a very tragic thing when a child’s mother dies.

We understand at some level because there is a bond of motherhood that connects women of all sizes, shapes, colors and ages. Some things are universal, and motherhood is one of those things.

I realized this morning that the bond of motherhood, for me, extends beyond human beings, to all creatures, from the tireless bird who makes continued flights to and from the nest to feed her babies, to the deer who teaches her fawn how to find food and stay safe.

This morning as I was walking Arthur at the VOA, I saw a young mother with a little daughter who looked to be about three years old. The girl had shoulder length dark brown wavy hair and was wearing capri-length jeans with a pink jacket. The mother was using a walker. The little girl was skipping and hopping ahead of her mother and then back. The mother trudged on. I don’t know her story, and I have no idea what her prognosis is. I could only tell that she struggled to walk.

I hope the mother is okay.

Whether she’s got a temporary setback, or a permanent disability, or a progressive fatal disease, the mother is living her life and taking her daughter to the park.

Just like the doe.

22 thoughts on “Universal motherhood—a mother and a doe”

  1. Great post and I think you nailed this one, Christine, as usual! The mothering instinct in us is so strong. Kind of how I feel when I see my doe with the bum leg…..I am so sad to see her all alone but she seems to be managing okay as she empties out my bird feeders…..;-). Chris has named her Doe-Re-Mi……

      1. I caught her pooping in the neighbor’s immaculate yard yesterday….I am sure he was out there with a shovel last night. 🙂

  2. Exactly why it bothered me, too… like you I’ve known several mothers (and fathers) who have died leaving small children behind. One who I was quite close to and whose daughters had to leave their hometown and friends after her death to live with relatives. It’s always difficult and heartwrenching to watch…

    1. I think we all know and remember someone or several mothers, and yes, fathers. Thanks for sharing your story, although you’re right, it is heartwrenching.

  3. Gosh, I love your heart, Christine. This is a beautiful post about the kinds of things that pull at my own heart. I feel so badly for the doe! I want her to be well–the mother with the walker, as well! Great post, my friend!

  4. Mother and child belong together until the youngster can and wants to live on his or her own. And after that they still belong together, always, through the heart. Or through memories.
    Bittersweet and deep post, Christine.

    1. I agree. The mother and child bond is quite strong. They say that on their deathbeds, adult men and women will often cry out for their own mothers, long deceased.

    1. You are so right. I remember getting to a place in my life where all our children were more or less self-sufficient, and I remember thinking, “Now if something happens to me, they’ll be okay.” It was a relief.


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