Guest Column: What makes a mom?
By ANNE BOWERS
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.
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.
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
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,