Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mothering Instincts

Not long ago I went as a volunteer to work in the kitchen of our church's girl's camp. It was a week long camp, so I was busy every day helping prepare meals for as many as 200 people. My teenagers were on summer break, so I left all my kids home with my husband. The teenagers would watch the youngest during the day, then my husband would take over when he got home from work.
While I was at camp I was very tired. I'm not used to doing that kind of labor on a day to day basis. Fifteen hour days take their toll. I had aching muscles, sore feet, and I was just plain exhausted. I quickly learned to take any free time available to lay down and rest. The cooks had a cabin to sleep in, and even had wooden frame beds with foam mattresses.
As I lay there, I would try not to go to sleep because I was worried I wouldn't be able to wake up in time to help with the next kitchen assignment. Instead of sleeping, I would lay there and think. It occurred to me one day that I hadn't thought much about my family at home. I began to think that something was wrong with me as a mother! I didn't really even miss them that much. I wondered if my motherly instincts had gone haywire.
Today my motherly instincts kicked back in to gear. My two teenage sons left on a backpacking trip with the boy scouts. They are going to hike the "lost coast challenge" in Northern California. This will be a strenuous 26 mile hike along the coast through sand. As I sent my boys off this morning, I began to imagine that they might walk past cliffs. I imagined them falling off those cliffs! I imagined them pushing each other in anger off those cliffs! I imagined them plummeting to their death in the rocks below, or being sucked down by the undertow. I imagined them disobeying their leaders and going for a swim in those icy, turbulent waters, and being swept out to sea. Oh, my mother's instinct imagination could come up with all kinds of dangers.
When I really logically look at it, I realize that my boys can take care of themselves. I think that when I left them at home while I was at girl's camp, I knew they were safe, so didn't even worry about them. But even now, when they are in a possibly dangerous location, I think they will be okay. It is nice to know, however, that my mother's instincts are intact.

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