There are several life assumptions we all hold dear…
Some are benign, like always finding nuts in your Snickers Bar or holes in your lifesavers. They make up the little things that keep your life woven tightly together.
Others are cornerstones serving as anchors in our lives. Primary among those is the assumption that our mothers love us.
Through issues of distance, disagreements, or differences, aren’t you certain deep in your soul, that Mom loves you? Sure she may have been upset about the Kool-Aid incident when you were seven & she might not have been 100% on-board with your first “True Love”. Admittedly, she was vexed the one night you broke curfew, but despite those minor bumps, weren’t you always sure of her love?
This is a Twilight Zone tale of the real measure of a mother’s love. I relate this, not to shock or sadden you, but rather as a litmus test against which you may wish to review your own maternal relationships…a cautionary tale.
Imagine if you will a mother who is an enthusiastic outdoor woman, energetic & younger than her years. Imagine also, a lovely summer morning full of blue skies, blue water & the clear air that only northern Michigan can provide.
This wonderful mother proposes a hike through the pristine trails of the Grass River Natural Area, to view the woods & water & perhaps spot the much rumored eagles nest.
You warm to the idea…strolling along, enjoying wildflowers, leisurely chatting about nothing important, appeals to you. Seems an idyllic way to spend a few hours with the amazing creature who gave birth to you. There’s even the prospect of lunch in Bellaire, or better yet, ice cream in Alden.
The way is short, the entrance free… soon you’re standing at the trail head breathing scents of the woods. Can you picture it? Take a moment to close your eyes & feel the beginning of this peaceful journey. Shades of green line the path, songbirds sing their musical welcome…ahhhh.
One more salient fact…for some totally unreasonable, utterly ridiculous reason, you’re both mortally, mind numbingly, heart-in-your-throat, afraid of snakes.
You begin the hike, letting your mother go first for all the obviously respectful reasons.
One moment its peaceful, serene even…the next, there’s a blood-curdling scream & you find yourself flat on your back!
Trying desperately to re-orient yourself you whirl up & around. In front of you on the path where your mom used to be is a 30 foot long brown snake (probably only 3 feet long but it seems otherwise) its head raised, its tail shaking, hissing. And your mother?…200 feet back up the trail having run over you in the escape process…babbling & gesturing incoherently.
Obviously the only thing to do is scramble, screeching to her side in support. Both of you hyperventilating in a sort of a bonding experience. You both agree it’s a close call.
Once the panic recedes, normal thought is again possible & you begin to appreciate the full horror of the situation. This woman who generously shared her body with you for 9 months, who bandaged your knees, baked endless chocolate chip cookies, suffered gladly through countless Brownie & PTA meetings, who wept at your graduations & your wedding, has just willing sacrificed you to the mercy of your worst nightmare…a 30 foot long brown striped snake.
Its enough to shake the very foundation of your soul.
An Alfred Hitchcock tale? A visit to the Twilight Zone? or just a walk in the woods with your mom?
Post script…After a bit, my mom & I convinced ourselves to overcome our hysteria. In a nearly Olympic moment we managed to race past the monster (now lying on its side apparently dead) to the education center. We expected comfort & sympathy. What we got was a naturalist who was beside himself! Once he heard our heroic tale, he convinced us that revisiting the behemoth was imperative. Of course the demon was gone by then, but our naturalist surmised that what we had encountered was a hognose snake. We never did agree about whether we were extremely fortunate to come upon such a magnificent creature (his side of the equation) or whether we escaped with our very lives!
This very true story is dedicated to my very own mom with all my love & to all the other mothers out there who dearly love their children.
Happy Mother Day!
Me…I’m off to spend some time remembering the love of the others who came before me!!!