Monday, April 19, 2010

The Mama Duck

I nearly missed it. On my way to fill up my gas tank at Costco. But the brown blur on the street moved.

And I stopped my car.

The man behind me in the white sedan wasn’t happy as he sped pass, but he couldn’t see what I saw.You see, once I noticed the mama duck with TEN little ducklings following her, I had to stop. If I hadn’t stopped, these little ones would have been squashed.

That’s ok that he got to the gas pump before me. I was taking a picture with my cell phone. (I am so sorry to the lady in the SUV who was in a hurry, but you had room to maneuver around me) I just couldn’t pass by. I mean, how cute is this?

Then I noticed something.

About the time I was snapping the picture, five of the ducklings had already used their siblings as stepping stools and climbed up over the curb to their mama (I really wish I had more than my cell phone for the picture, its hard to see them, but the "safe" ducklings are under the bush in the picture). But five of them were stuck, unable to climb over.

The mama duck was frantic.

She kept nudging the ducks on the curb away from the edge at the same time as trying to reach her little babies who couldn’t make it over. She would dip her head down and nudge their heads. Her wings flapped, her neck stretched, but she had no way to rescue them.

Ignoring odd looks, leaving my running engine in the middle of the parking-lot-road and not even bothering to close my door – I decided to help.
I would save the ducklings!! (Where are the Wonder Pets when I need them?)

Feeling a little like Snow White, I stooped down and offered my hand as a step. (I am pretty sure I gracefully swooped my hand with a very “Disney-princess-fashion” and almost felt a song bursting from my soul.)

The ducklings scattered. Scared.

Oh yeah, I am NOT Snow White. Animals really do not flock to strange women. Especially thirty-something-women who STILL try to BE Snow White.

So, I did the next best thing… I got in front of them a little. Scooped my hand gently under the belly of one of the frightened ducklings and lifted him over the curb.

He RAN to his mama. R.A.N.

He ran to her just like I have seen my children run to me when they are scared.

She opened her wings wide, nudged his head, and then looked back to the others.

I was already doing my best to scoop up the next one. And, just like his brother, he did the same thing… straight to mama, who gladly welcomed him.

Seeing that their brothers had safely reached their mama, the other little ducklings didn’t even try to run from me at all. In fact, one tried to get into my hand on his own… just so he could be with mama.

Just so he could be with his mama…

I smiled at the man in the blue car (who looked vaguely like Doc) and thought Snow White was a wimp – see her try that!!!

And then I thought how wonderful it is that even in the animal world, babies just want their mama. Even little ducks at Costco needed comfort from their mother.

In one little frozen moment of time, I learned more about mothering than ever could be taught to me through words.

The lessons from this experience are boundless, and I love that I get to explore it over and over in my mind.

What lessons can you see? (aside from the fact that I was never meant to be a Disney Princess)


heather said...

I love it. It's so sweet!! I never would have had the courage to go help. I would have assumed that I would do more harm than good.

Five and five... like the 10 virgins.

Emmy said...

Okay, hopefully this does not post twice.. something weird happened.

Anyway, what I said before. What an awesome awesome experience! Seriously what a great moment to witness and be part of.

Glad the momma duck let you help and didn't try and bite you, because mom's often are the worst ones at admitting they need help. :)

Laurie said...

I'm sorry but I think you totally qualify as a Disney Princess only better because you are REAL. ;)
Way to go Snow White! I'm sure the momma could sense, from one momma to another, that you were there to protect her little ones. It's so sweet!

Boy Mom said...

What a beautiful story, and you're wrong about not being a princess, in fact this story proves you're well on your way to Goddess!

Thanks for your comment, your comments always make me feel so happy.

Tami said...

I think that even in the duck world there must be a "pecking order" (no pun intended)! I guarantee that it was the older ducks stepping on their brother and sister's heads to get themselves to safety! HA! Great story Kathy!

That Girl said...

This is by far the best story I've heard in a long time.

I'm going to be thinking about this one for a while ...

Just SO said...

I love this! There really is SO many things to learn from this. Thank you for sharing.