Saturday, December 10, 2011

Where are the Mothers?

I’ve been for a little wander.

Just me, myself and I.

Finally alone with my thoughts uninterrupted by the Kids, the Husband or the Whippet. Dangerous territory. I feel some pondering and a waffle coming on.

It’s close to sunset and I’m marveling at the stunning colours of the rugged Flinders Ranges. There is the thud of the odd Grey Kangaroo and the crunch of my feet breaking the grass underfoot.

I spot an Emu. It moves slowly but purposefully and I decide to follow it.

Over the hill we go. I’m suddenly delighted when I spot the Mother Emu reunited with its six Emu chicks. It’s a beautiful sight.

Except it’s not their Mother. It’s actually their Father. Emu’s are one of those rare species where the Father is in charge of the parenting. He sits on the Emu eggs, incubating them for 8 weeks without feeding himself and then raises and nurtures the chicks until they are ready to leave the family.

But where are the Mothers? I start thinking about the baby Emu chicks. I feel sorry for them. No Mother. Do they miss their Mother, like I do? Or are they grateful they have their Father, like I am? Will they ever see their Mother again? What if they find her and she rejects them? Or will they be without her forever? Are they sad? Do they even care? How will they turn out without their Mother? Questions asked of me for almost 20 years.

I grew up with my Father from the age of 12. I didn’t see my Mother for 15 years until after I had my own children. I missed her. She missed me. I’ve asked myself for many years, how and why did this happen? How could so many years pass by. I’ve now realized that the ‘why’ doesn’t matter. How one ‘loses’ their mother doesn’t matter. To the children it is a loss regardless of the reasons. It’s made more difficult because these children are often not given the same support or justification to grieve over a mother they have ‘lost’ as opposed to children who have lost a mother through death. But why is it different?

But back to the Emu chicks. They look fit and healthy. In fact they are thriving. It reminded me of all the other ‘Mothers’ I had along the way. There was the Father that became the Mother. The Godmother, the Aunts and Grandmothers, special family friends and women I chose as mentors. Those that were already Mothers but somehow had room for me in their life. Together they formed a circle of love to care for the child whose mother was absent. There are all types of Mothers and I believe it doesn’t matter what form a mother comes in so long as there is one. I am very fortunate and blessed.

So I watch the Emu chicks as their father dutifully steers them along their path. I now stop worrying about these Emu chicks. They have a 'mother'. They will be fine just as I am fine.


This week I am grateful for all the 'mothers' out there. And I'm linking up with the fabulous Maxabella  for her final Grateful Link-up for 2011.


  1. Awwww Mel thanks for sharing a beautiful post. Whatever happened I'm glad you are settled inside. Your journey has been good to follow. Keep posting! x

  2. I guess their 'mother' IS their 'father'?! x

  3. Oh, the Flinders Ranges! I've always wanted to go there since visiting the Adelaide museum and seeing all the amazing fossils found there. It looks amazing.

  4. Hi Jason, nice to see the blokes peeking at my Blog. A rock fanatic(nerd) like yourself would love it here! I have many beautiful photos of rocks to share with you upon our return :-)

  5. What an open and heart-felt post...I'm happy for you that you and your mother reunited, even after such a long time. Humans can be unpredictable and sometimes troubled creatures but at least daddy emu knows to stick around and care for his babies.