“Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother.” –Lin Yutang, Chinese Writer and Professor (1895-1976)

Let’s Celebrate Moms and Momma Bears! Happy Mother’s Day

I’m collaborating/ghostwriting a book for a man who has lived in the isolated area of Haines, Alaska since 1961. His stories are adventures that most of us can only imagine.
He told me a story this week about one particular encounter with a mother bear and her cubs. He knows better, and didn’t intend to infringe on her territory, but it’s a common, yet unwanted surprise in the wilderness of Alaska!

As he says, only a fool asks how a grizzly bear mother reacts when human presence threatens her cubs. How do you react as a mother? Probably the same way, except you don’t have to rise up from all fours.

Lunging into action, she rises up on hind legs, her intent is clear. Her frightening growl, coupled with one glance at her razor sharp claws stops anyone from messing with her cubs.

It is well-known that when a mother bear’s fierceness is unleashed, it’s time to get out of the way—fast! In her great love, she is ferocious, and no wise person will question her. God made her innate love to be attentive and persistent. Her unwavering protectiveness is acceptable and right.

So is yours!

This sounds like all moms, right? If we stop to think about, moms of any age admire the bears ability to protect. We relate to it. She is a mentor of sorts for us … for young moms who provide tenacious attention to physically protect, minute-by-minute, moving forward with kids year-by-year. And for the Mom who is sending her first child off to college. Protecting and mothering is an ingrained habit for moms, but in a blink of an eye it’s come time to learn how to let go. We as moms do it step-by-step (I’m past growing up phases with my kids, but I remember them well.)

Think about when “letting go” starts: It begins with the first step, first bicycle ride alone, overnight at a friend’s house, week-long camp, driver’s license, first date, and onto the day they move out, head off to college, or get married.It can be challenging for all of us moms to discern between when it is right and good to protect and when it is necessary and good to let go. It can feel like a harsh change of mothering habits, and cause ongoing flip-flop of emotions. The key is to always be their mother, but not feel the need to mother them. (Hope my adult children don’t read this; I wasn’t always successful in not mothering; sometimes I’m still not!)

I admire how effectively animals let go, at just the right time. Watch the animal channel; amazing intuition. They’ve got it down. When it is time, the same grizzly bear instinctively knows when to let her cub(s) literally walk away. She watches with confidence as her young one walks away from her to climb up the mountainside apart from her watch and care. It is the way it is supposed to be. She’s done a good job, but even so, I it must tug at her in some way deep within.

For moms, still in the “raising them phase,” be encouraged, by knowing it is right and good to always love our children as much as we can, while at the same time slowly letting go, separating from them a little bit more as they grow and mature through each stage.

A few tips, just for you:

  • With time that frees up, use it to do something just for you. A new class, hobby, activity, volunteerism.
  • Make your husband a priority again. Get out with him and enjoy something that has been on the back burner.
  • Acknowledge “letting go” is a process, and might even feel sad, yet an exciting adventure at the same time.
  • Talk to mothers you respect who are a success at enjoying time for themselves, with new goals, diversions, friends.
  • Recognize as you “let go” in healthy ways, you are a role model for how your children will parent.
  • Appreciate every special moment with your child. Those, and the family stories that add up day-by-day will be cherished between you forever.

Now ask yourself, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” The answer might surprise you. After all, you’ve already tackled the hardest, most heart-wrenching, rewarding job on earth! Being a mom.

Want to read more? “Momma Bear, That’s Me!” is Chapter 3 in my book, Refreshing Hope in God. Write me directly, and I will sign and discount your copy, then mail it off to you. judy@jldwrites.com   

For a laugh: My son chuckled as he said to me, when I was writing this chapter over a decade ago. “You aren’t like a mother bear. You are more like a goose with your goslings!” I thought, Okay, that’s good too; I guess my mother bear self is a strong emotion only I know and feel, deep down inside.

Trek on! Judy


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