Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Good Mommy

My children are adults now. Cera, my youngest, my baby, is twenty-five years old. How did that happen so quickly? Sometimes I look back and wonder if I was a good mother, if I could have or should have done things differently. I'm sure that crosses the minds of mothers all over the world. I do believe I did the best I could at the time, and I take comfort that above all, I loved—and still love—my children unconditionally, with all my heart.

They taught me so much about life, and what is really important, and sometimes I remember these lessons when I look over old photos or videos of them when they were young. Recently I ran across a picture of my daughter when she was ten years old. Her Girl Scout troop had a picnic in the park, an informal party to celebrate their past year accomplishments.

On the other side of the park were snakes. Big snakes like pythons and boa constrictors. All were non-venomous (or so we were told) and accompanied by their handlers. It wasn't long before the Girl Scout party invaded the snake party, and it was an amazing sight.

These preteen girls were petting the reptiles, making tunnels with their bodies while the snakes wriggled underneath them, sitting and letting them slither up and around their arms and legs. Moms and Dads were watching carefully, more than a bit nervous, and as I recall, the snake handlers were amused by the whole situation as they talked about their unusual pets. This was definitely a teachable moment.

Most of these reptiles were really long, twelve to twenty feet perhaps, if I recall correctly. I watched my daughter delight in stroking their smooth scales (skin?) and attempt to lure snakes over to her just to watch them slide in and around her.

Cera was sitting cross-legged, when one of these snakes slithered under her knee and raised its head up to look at her. My first reaction was a bit of panic, then I composed myself and told her – "Don't move. I'll be right back."

As a good mother, you know what I did next, right? Of course, I ran to my car and grabbed my camera! And snapped this picture. And I'm so glad I did, since both Cera and her new snake friend only had patience to pose for a few moments. Then the snake slowly lowered itself to the ground and glided away.

Lessons learned:
  •          Snakes are really pretty cool, unless they are rattlesnakes sitting in the middle of a trail I'm running on.
  •          My daughter was entranced by this encounter, and it helped reinforce her love and appreciation for all of God's creatures.
  •          When you put Girl Scouts in the same park as big long harmless snakes, give up on any of your pre-planned activities – they will hang with the reptiles instead.
  •          The real snake charmers were the real snakes charming the girls.

And the number one lesson I learned? When you're with your kids, always carry a camera.