May 10, 2012
Guest Column: What makes a mom?


Nine little darling faces stare up at me, and my heart melts at the utter cuteness of them.  Four are yellow and five black, but all nine ducklings shared the same 28 days in an incubator and hatched within hours of each other.

Little chirps escape their pistachio-shaped beaks as they speak to me.  They want to be held.  They need water, food, and maybe some fresh spinach too.  Their bedding needs changing.  Come on, Mom, how about letting us out of the cage for a while?

Mom.  What exactly does that mean?  Obviously, I am not their real mother since I don’t have wings.  They don’t know who their mothers are, and I can only hazard a guess.  My role is only that of surrogate.  Does that make me a mom?

They are tiny and defenseless against the big nasty world.  Without someone to protect them, most of them would perish quickly in nature.  Maybe I am not their mother, but I will make sure they will be warm enough tonight.

It was Donny, my husband, who coaxed them out of their shells last week with his imitation duck-speak.  It is Donny to whom they snuggle up.  It is Donny who plays with them, and it is Donny they follow around in single file like a string.

But, it is their human mom they look to when they need sustenance or if they don’t feel well. I will worry about their emotional well-being and will be the one who breaks up the fights when they aren’t getting along with each other.  I will put their well-being ahead of mine own when a predator attacks.

I care so deeply for these little one-ounce puffs balls, even though we just met a week ago.  Can’t even imagine what it must be like to raise a child.

It makes me think about my mother, who is almost 83.  The years have made her shorter, thinner, and grayer but her spirit is still tougher than nails.  She and I haven’t always been friends, but she has always been Mom and she has always had my love and respect.

I can remember how special she made Christmas with all her decorating, cookie making, and thoughtful gifts.  She was such a powerful force in my life – sometimes good but sometimes not.  But, through it all, I always knew that she would always be there for me -- even when I didn’t expect it.

She wasn’t perfect.  It was years before I realized that she was human, not a super-hero.  Her life was full of ups and downs, much like mine.

Being a mom takes commitment.  It can’t be turned off and on like a TV.  It doesn’t matter if it’s 3 a.m. or in the middle of a horrific thunderstorm when a child needs his or her mom, she will come.

It’s all those reasons and more that we as a nation celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 13.  Mothers do have special powers that can make the world all better with a gentle kiss to the head or the warm touch of her hand.

(Anne Bowers is a freelance writer for the Island Free Press and owner of Indian Town Gallery in Frisco. She has been “mom” to dozens of ducklings and goslings over the years. You can read more of her blogs at In case you missed the links to some short, sweet video clips of the baby ducks above, click here or here. Enjoy.)

 Comments are always welcomed!

     Subject :

     Name :  (required)

     Email :  (required, will not be published)

     City :   (required)    State :   (required)

     Your Comments:

May be posted on the Letters to the Editor page at the discretion of the editor.