About a week ago my oldest daughter Abby’s goat welcomed a set of triplets into the world. It was an exciting time for all of us! We did not have an exact breeding date for this specific doe, only a range of days she had been exposed to a buck. We knew she was getting close, however, as the poor girl’s midsection had become so large she was no longer as agile as she once was. Most of her days were passed by finding a comfortable lying position as close to the feed and water as possible so she would not have to get up to grab a bite to eat. On many occasions I would find Lady lying down with her head in her feed bucket, snacking away as she was waiting for the birth of her kids.
It was a long month of waiting. This particular doe needed a bit more special attention because a few weeks prior, she had the beginnings of a vaginal prolapse stitched up. With that said, we had to be “Johnny on the spot” when it came to her kidding to prevent further complications. It had become my nightly routine to run out to the barn around 10 p.m. to check on the expecting doe before turning in for the night. For a month, each nightly run seemed much like the last. I would find Lady sleepily chewing her cud with no signs of labor.
I was expecting much of the same on that particular evening run to the barn — only this time, Lady was not sailing off into dreamland. Rather, she seemed a bit irritated as she was standing and stomping the ground underneath her. I strode behind her looking for any changes toward her rear but saw nothing significant. Grabbing a flashlight to take another look, I found the slightest streak of blood near her backside. It seemed insignificant. I questioned whether or not I was seeing clearly in the dimly-lit barn; or if my eyes were still adjusting to the sudden bright flashlight shining on the pink rump of a goat.
This poor ole girl was becoming even more irritated with my presence. Grabbing a rubber glove from my pocket, I decided to manually check and see what was going on. Sure enough, upon inspection, I found the little bulb-shaped noggin of a kid. I quickly removed the aforementioned stitch and headed inside to wake my slumbering adolescent (which is not normally an easy task).
Abby and I, armed with dry towels, excitedly went back to the barn where we found the first kid already on the ground. My budding veterinarian went right to work, vigorously drying the tiny Pygmy doeling off as I assisted with the birth of the next two, slightly larger, bucklings.
Once all three kids were safely delivered, dried, and attempting to take their first steps, Abby, in an excited whisper exclaimed, “This is so amazing! I’m shaking because I am so excited!” It was indeed an exciting moment to experience with my daughter.
Today I stood and watched Lady with her trio, and couldn’t help but relate to her as I think many mothers would. The moment she stands up from even the shortest rest, her kids start tugging on her, nudging her as they look for food. I watched as Lady patiently stood for a few minutes and she licked and bonded with her young. She then gracefully and gently walked away, her bouncing triplets underfoot, as she quickly ate and drank before lying down to rest again. Upon lying down, the three snuggled into their Momma as close as possible; and again, Lady gracefully held her head as she quietly chewed her cud and every so often would nudge or lick her kids.
Much like Lady and her kids, my children are constantly looking for something to eat from the moment their feet hit the floor in the morning. Staring into a refrigerator or pantry full of things to eat they exclaim, “Mom, we don’t have anything to eat!” As a mother, a moment of privacy seems impossible. Even when stealing away for a run to the bathroom with the door closed, tiny fingers wiggle underneath the thin gap between the bottom of the door and the floor, along with shrieks of, “MOM! Are you done?” And at the end of the day, when this Momma is tired out and sits down, there could be seating for thousands, but the littles sit as close to Mom as possible. Truth be told, myself and most Moms rarely refuse the snuggles, hugs and kisses from their kids and are equally as generous in handing them out.
Whether you are a dog mom, boy mom, toddler mom, plant mom, mom of teens, grand-mom or the neighbor of a mom, you are precious. Our world would be null and void if it were not for the gentle love and care of a Mom. Moms in the thick of raising toddlers, tweens and teens: hang in there. You were made for such a time as this. Moms of cows who are in the middle of calving season, you are resilient, keep up the good work. Moms who are empty nesters, those of us with full nests need you. We need your wisdom and encouragement. Use this next stage of your life to share your hope. Neighbors of Moms, check on your Mom neighbors. You just might be the sunshine on a cloudy day.
Moms of all ages, stages, breeds and species; thank you for your grace, kindness and love. There is not enough ink in the world to express the gratitude and importance of mothers out there. Happy Mother’s Day!
Whitney Nesse is a sixth-generation livestock farmer who is deeply rooted in her faith and family. She writes from her central Minnesota farm.