lessons learned: raising chicks and raising teens–going back to the basics (a Mother’s Day meditation)

This week has truly been one of the fullest that I can remember in recent years.  We began our week with getting baby chicks and ended it with  a 3-day middle school musical and a 2-service Youth Sunday.  In the mix, we also had allergies, out-of-town family, a community garden, meetings, and preparation for end of grade testing at school.  So, did we get a lot accomplished this week?  Yes!  Did we make some special memories?  For certain!  Would we ever want to relive it?  Heck no!

I must admit, however, what got me through it all was a simple lessons learned from Lucy, Rosie and Oreo.  What a

The sisters–Oreo, Rosie, Lucinda

delight to come home to three new chicks looking for a new mother figure and ready to explore.  Each little sister has brought with her a delightfully unique personality.  Lucinda (Lucy) was initially bossy and brash but has mellowed out a bit.  She looks to our cat, Prissy, for warmth and comfort.  I named Rosie after the children’s book Rosie’s Walk
by Pat Hutchins because she prefers to free range around our living room instead of staying in the bin.  Oreo, our black Autralorp, is shy and timid and stands wistfully like a sandpiper on the beach.  Her initial name “Piper” was replaced by “Oreo,” not only for her markings, but also because when she gets cold, she runs and huddles between her two sisters–looking like a reverse Oreo cookie.

Having three new chicks in the home has reminded me what it is like to raise young children.  Safety issues and basic human needs (hunger, thirst and sleep) are at the top of the parenting list.   It all comes down to the easy things, the simple things–items that don’t require a degree in child psychology or Wonder Woman’s cape to solve.  You just sit on the floor, put out the food and water, and cuddle if they get chilly.  Nothin’ to it.

Lucinda and Prissy

By the end the week,however, I realized that my 13-year-old needed the exact same things.  In spite of knowing much more than her mother does and not wanting anyone to hug her mom in public, she still needed someone to make sure she got enough rest, bring her healthy food to play practice, and cuddle with her on those nights allergies kept her awake.  Motherhood this week wasn’t about my having to ride the roller coaster known as “female adolescence;” rather, it was simply about caring for my child.

In the comings and goings of teen life and in the busy-ness of raising a child, we often find ourselves negotiating and maneuvering around feelings and friendships, cheerfulness and challenges.  Life takes on a new meaning as

extracurricular activities vie for attention on the kitchen calendar.  And yet, what motherhood comes down to are the things that really matter–keeping our children healthy, providing consistent and unconditional care, and loving them with all of our hearts.

I know, right?  It sounds pretty easy, but this week, it took three new baby chicks to remind me that my own sweet baby girl-turned-teen still needs those things.  I am filled with gratitude for such a meaningful gift this Mother’s Day.

 

 

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