I eased my foot on the brake as I saw the figures waiting on the side of the road near the pedestrian crossing. It took a little while before for the persons in question made a start on the zebra lines. I waited.
A mother held an infant of about 6 months old; a small head rested on her chest beneath the palm of her hand, and round legs were safely tucked under a hooked arm. Beside the two-in-one figure was a little girl of about three. I couldn’t hear what the mother was saying, but she gestured movement with her head and they made a start across the road.
I had the luxury of watching the trio meander as I waited. It was a beautiful thing: taking in the simple act of watching a mother cross the road with her children. That may seem strange perhaps.
You see, this mum looked weary. Yet in her obvious weariness, she was ready-to-pounce aware. It was in the way she kept positioning her body to protect both the babe in her arm and the care-free small child at her side. It was like she instinctively herded the young girl with her body, all the while cradling the baby until the party was safely across to the other side.
In that moment, I realised the main reason why mums of young ones are so very weary. I recognised it. It’s not all the extra work of washing clothes, feeding mouths and caring for needs. It’s not even the interrupted nights. It’s in the huge responsibility mums carry WITHIN the weariness. It’s being fatigued and hyper-vigilant at the same time. It’s the beautiful burden of caring just so very much.
This mum was like a shepherd. A protector. A herder. A hero.
I see you.
This story first appeared on my Facebook page. You can read the relevant discussion here.