Celebrating Mother's Day and the Return of Mother Duck

March 26th was an important day around our house. It began a watch. It started a vigil.
It caused my husband and me to assume a sentinel attitude. Yes, what began that day would end
in triumph or tragedy; and we were prepared to do our part to guarantee a jubilant outcome.
That day, like other spring days in the past several years, a mother duck found her way
into our rose bed in our front yard. There, blending in with the brown wood-chips that cover the
landscape, she hollowed out a spot for her nest at the base of her familiar yellow rose bush. After
a few days of preparation she laid her eggs.
My husband and I were delighted to see that our duck had returned. We had become the
proud grandparents of grand-ducks in years past, and this year promised the same. She nestled
down for the incubation; we nuzzled near the front window for observation. She was protected
by her camouflage and her watchmen.
Mother seemed semi-comfortable with our presence. Several times a day we would exit
the house to visit the nursery. We would greet her with soft words. Pleasant words or not, she
kept her eyes fixed upon us, always examining us. “Sounds like a friend but could be a foe,”
were undoubtedly her inner quacks. Or, maybe, she sized us up and thought, “It’s obvious to me
who the real quacks are!”
Although she remained cautious, she stayed upon the nest. She did not fly away to
protect herself. She did not abandon her vigil at the first hint of danger. She endured many
hardships more threatening than the would-be grandparents. Several seasonal storms not only
brought heavy downpours but also damaging hail. Twice the sirens sounded with warnings about
the potential for tornados. While Dennis and I took cover in the basement, mother duck provided
cover for her young. For herself – she faced the danger and endured.
Then, one week before Mother’s Day, our grand-ducks hatched. The day before
delivery, mother duck was agitated. She did not greet us with the same cautiously warm
acknowledgement; but, rather, she hissed so as to say, “Get out of my face.” From one mother to
another, I so totally knew what she was saying. I remember the last stages of delivery of my
children when my normally warm and friendly disposition changed to … enough said.
Throughout the night and into the next morning, the eggs hatched. At sunrise, we
discovered 10 new baby ducks. Happy Mother’s Day! Ten new baby ducks! We took pictures.
We congratulated mother duck. We congratulated each other. We took more pictures. It was a
joyful ending to journey fraught with danger. Before the day ended, babies followed mother to
the lake behind our house where they are now growing and learning how to live ‘duck life’ from
Mothers are God’s gift of life for the next generation. My mother endured hardships for
me. She gave up Christmas one year to give birth to me; and, every Christmas Day, she would re-
tell the story of leaving the gifts under the tree and rushing to the hospital to welcome me into the
world. I, following her example, will tell each of my children of the hardships I faced on the day
they were born. By now, they’re like fish stories that grow bigger with each telling.
Birthing, while paramount, is only one of the many sacrifices that mothers make to insure
that their babies arrive and develop in a secure environment. Throughout the duration of our
growing-up process, our mothers are sizing up the things that come near the nest. “Sounds like a
friend but could be a foe,” is undoubtedly the inner dialog of every mom. Throughout the storms
of life, amidst the tempest of living, and against the winds of reality, moms are present to put
their lives on the line to secure life for their children.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave . . .” Mothers are not gods, but
they are a godly expression of the Heavenly Father’s love. A mother’s love is a giving love, a
sheltering love and a protecting love.
Happy Mother’s Day to all our Moms and to our Mother Duck.

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