Duck Mama

I’m all for devoted mothers but this was special. Mama Bear kind of special.

We live on a hobby farm and at one time had a brace of Moscovy ducks. I had to look this up but did you know that a group of ducks can be called a brace, badelynge, bunch or a flock?

Story_squareWhile we’re discussing names, a male duck is a drake and a female duck is a …. duck.

The females are blessed with the job of keeping the eggs warm for a month while staring at the blank wall of a barn that never talks back but they don’t even get a special name. That seems wrong, somehow.

Our ducks were wonderful mothers. If you’ve read Make Way for Ducklings you have the right idea. If you haven’t, go read it. It’s short.

One day we stumbled onto a nest of eggs. Maybe this was a whole brace of eggs. I’m not sure. I’m talking dozens. I’m talking a sea of white orbs. I’m talking Egg Mountain.

We couldn’t count them all.

We couldn’t count them all partly because there were two ducks sitting on them. Yeah, weird.

At least they had someone to talk to while waiting for the coming ducklings.

Twenty-one ducklings hatched.

But there aren’t DNA tests for ducklings (well, not on our farm for sure) and we had two ducks with all these babies. Who belonged to whom?

Neither mama was giving up the babies so they worked together. Both lead the way with a long winding line of yellow fuzzy ducklings waddling behind. Twenty-one ducklings makes a long line.

We added more than a bunch to our duck flock. We’d collected a whole badelynge.

Don’t you think those mamas deserved a more amazing name than duck?

Mama advice

SeasonsFred knocked lightly on the door before leaning into the room. “Mama?”

Then he saw me sitting beside my mother’s bed. “Oh, excuse me. “

His mama and my mama were roommates at a long-term facility. His mother had the coveted half of the room near the window so he had to walk through our space to get to his mother.

“You’re fine,” I assured him. I was reading a book while Mom slept.

Fred was tall with more salt than pepper in his hair. About my age. I’d already noticed that most of the visitors were about my age.

For most of us, our mamas -and a few papas- lived here.  This is our time of life.

“She’s sleeping.” Fred could see his mother in her bed. “Maybe I’ll come back later.”

“Don’t worry about that.”  The voice was my mother’s. She looked at Fred. “We can sleep anytime. She can’t see you anytime.”

Fred still hesitated. Mamas train us well. Who wants to awaken a napper?  We learned that with younger siblings a millennium ago.

My mother glanced at me and then at Fred again. “She will be disappointed. I would be. She wants to see you, ” she said.

Even at our age, Mama still gives good advice. Fred nodded and then tiptoed into the room.

Maybe he tiptoed so that he didn’t wake his mother before he woke her.

“Mama?”

I could hear a slight rustle. And then “Ooooh. Fred. It is so good to see you. I am glad you came. How are you?”

“I’m good.” I could hear Fred drop into a chair.

Mamas still know best.