My son has a birthday tomorrow and it set me thinking about a mother's love for her child/children. I suppose you can say that it is unconditional. One thing is for sure - you never stop loving them and you never stop worrying about them, however old they are. I am sure I am not on my own in feeling like this. All one wishes is for one's children to be happy.
It was brought home to me in a wonderful film on BBC2 last evening about Grizzly Bears in Alaska. The whole film was fascinating because the chap who narrated it lived literally side by side with a whole lot of grizzlies for the whole of the summer. They seemed to largely ignore him and he was able to observe them fishing, mating, feeding and generally going about their business.
But as far as my topic today goes, the thing that was interesting was the absolute devotion the bear mothers showed for their offspring. Tiny little cubs - most often two but in one case three - running after mum, tumbling, playing, bouncing about (but always keeping up with mum). And, by golly they needed to keep up with mum as Grizzly males are not averse to the odd snack of baby bear. These mother bears needed to keep their wits about them twenty four hours a day. It was the most charming film.
And still on the topic of mother love, our neighbour, who has a suckler herd of cows, had a cow calve the week before last and the calf was born dead. So on the Friday morning he went to our local Auction Mart and bought a calf for her. She had only been calven for twenty four hours and he fully expected her to accept the new calf. No such thing. She flatly refuses to have anything to do with it, so now they are left with a calf to feed by hand for the next few months until it is old enough to look after itself. Very sad, particularly as this now means that the cow will probably go to market and be sold for beef and is it unproductive to keep her unless she is suckling.
At lunch time today this got the farmer and I talking about one of our cows (who was destroyed when we had foot and mouth disease) - number 55. She adored calves and in summer, if a cow calved overnight in the field she would steal the calf and coax it into the far corner of the field. The mother would be calling for it, but fifty-five would be looking after it and enjoying every minute of it. She would have had no difficulty in accepting that calf last week.