Rays of moonlight gently wash over the lone house nestled into the midnight prairie. The sun has been down for hours; the world is sleeping. In the midst of the stillness an unsettled cry awakes her from the slumber she so desperately needs. But she rises, tending to the little one calling her. She’s a diverse being, possessing the unique ability to transition to fit the long list of roles that fill her days.

Soft, but firm are her hands – hands filled with years of skillfully guiding young horses to neck rein, stringing miles of barbed wire in oversized leather gloves, filling syringes with vaccine, tending to the grassland, and caring for livestock are the same hands that have tenderly changed diapers, baked apple pies, skillfully removed manure and grass stains from blue jeans, held tiny little fingers on walks and lovingly folded into prayer each night for her family.  And while sun and callouses of the earth have battered them, a distinct elegance remains. Sometimes the two contraries are paired by her favorite shiny red nail polish over her forever cracked middle nail. Other times while leading a bouncing toddler in tow on a trusted ranch horse behind her own through the steep hills of the prairie.

Understated are her arms. The same arms that can slowly lower a heavy saddle on top of a weary horse have also held her babies through many nights, quietly rocking them to sleep. And while her arms are a vessel for her love when they wrap around those she holds dear, they are also a symbol for her strength – the kind of strength it took to hold in cries of pain to not further frighten her little ones after a horse whose own stubbornness mimicked her own, won their dance in front of them.

Strong is her heart, wild is her spirit. This strength is fueled by an unending passion, one so strong it can be mistaken for fight – bracing her family through the everyday battles of life. But her heart is also kind and compassionate. The pain of a mother cow losing her calf is one of her own, and sacrifices she’s made for her family are unceasing – filling her with empathy and never-faltering love.

When morning comes she shares a steaming pot of coffee at the man who has stood by her side through thick and thin. As the sun rises slowly over the hills of the prairie, it comes alive with the sound of chirping birds and the soft murmur of grazing cattle in the distance. Together, they graze peacefully over the legacy they built together, that will one day be carried on by their children.

Her little ones awake, sleepily walking into the kitchen for a hug and some breakfast. Sometimes they are her little helpers, showing her patience as she teaches them many of their first life lessons. Carefully, they learn how to measure out cups of flour as she makes bread and how to mix a bottle of milk for an orphan calf and teach it how to eat. She also instills in them values and respect for others, and shares with them her close relationship with God, teaching them how to pray.

While her children are the source of much of her love, they are also the cause of much of her worry. Sometimes it consumes her thoughts, disturbing her sleep as she awakes with concern. As her little ones grow older, there are moments when she feels they distance themselves from her, but they’ll grow to realize what she means to them. Forever they will need her love. Just like she was the first one they ran to with a skinned knee as a child, she will be the first one they turn to with a broken heart. Just like she was the first one to see an A+ spelling test after a long week of studying, she will be the first one they call with the start of their own family.

As her hair greys and the lines in her skin grow deeper, the love she holds for her family will only strengthen. Her path in life has been a selfless and giving journey, but it has also been full of rewards and blessings.

She is heart, soul, strength. She is mom.

 

Happy Mother's Day.