The Mama Vault – #5 MOTHERING ON STEROIDS
I was writing an entirely different blog for this week, but it was before the flood happened.
It was before 39.9 feet of extra water came careening down the Llano River running just across the street from the brownstone where I live.
I was right in the middle of writing a fun, light-hearted essay when the river filled and backed up into a creek, and then went right on ahead and pushed its way into my friend’s home, an unwelcomed intruder in their sanctuary—the spoiler of treasures and collections and necessities.
But it wasn’t finished.
All the water moved downstream, and as I write, it’s still wreaking havoc in hundreds, maybe even thousands, of homes. The numbers aren’t in and probably won’t be for a while. Roads are impassable. Bridges have collapsed.
And guess who is positioned right in the big middle of it all.
A whole lot of mothers. On steroids. Figuratively speaking.
These gals know their way around a good crisis. We are masters at cleaning up messes, so convenient in times like these. In fact, we’re uniquely built for it. Crisis comes, and a switch flips in us when it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get it done.
We clothe ourselves in water gear. We pull on rubber boots and work gloves, directing and rallying the troops around us to do the same.
In this flood we are everywhere, and you better believe there’s a whole lot of mothering going on.
One minute, we are crying with a friend who has lost everything, and the next minute we are drying our eyes, putting on our big girl undies and kicking out a piece of sheetrock Chip Gaines style.
One minute we are opening up a box of sopping wet family photos, gently separating and drying them—hell-bent on salvaging every possible small thing. The next minute we’re joining forces with other mamas to push a trashed refrigerator out the front door.
Seriously. A whole entire refrigerator. Dang.
Mamas on steroids-kicking butt and taking names.
And guess who is watching it all. Mamas in training. Girls. They’re getting in on the action, too. They’re putting heavy, flood-drenched clothing in bags and shoveling out thick, stinking mud. Their shoes are caked in gunk and probably raw sewage, and though they sometimes gag and hold their noses, they aren’t wimping out.
There are hardworking guys all around, too—tearing stuff up with sledgehammers and hauling heavy furniture on to trailers. They are oh so necessary and needed and lifesavers. Love them all. I’m proud of my kind, though—proud of all the women working right beside them and getting every bit as dirty. It takes us all. It is taking us all.
But Mamas—no doubt we are here for such a time as this.
We’ve cleaned vomit off sheets in the middle of the night. We’ve kissed every kind of hurt to make it better. We’ve fed a family of five on a hundred bucks a month. We’ve built tents and forts. We’ve worked hard days and stayed up entire nights to keep watch over sick babies. We’ve rocked away bad dreams. We’ve given impassioned pep talks to heartbroken teens. We instinctively know when the best medicine of all is to cry it out, follow it up with a hot shower and finish things off with a bowl of hot soup.
Though we would rather be doing anything else but this flood thing, we will do it. We’ll circle the wagons around our sisters and brothers who don’t know what to do next, and we will mother the heck out of them.
Because it’s what we do.