It was just a small gesture or as they say, it’s the little things.
We were just warming up with hot cups of coffee, tea and hot chocolate after braving the first chilly, windy, morning of Auskick* this season. Appropriately as it was Mothers Day our daughter was treating my wife, our granddaughter the Auskicker, and myself to some warm drinks. We were just starting to thaw out a little when I noticed the young mother at the next table who was sitting alone while her partner was queuing to place their order. The mother was cradling in her left arm a baby, a newly arrived in this world baby judging by the size alone. The baby was all rugged up in quality woollen clothes, a blanket, a beautiful gender-neutral grey knitted woollen jumper but nothing to cover the little crown of the head apart from a good crop of lovely dark hair. It seemed odd that the head was bare, out of sync with the rest of its garb. I wondered why this was so, it seemed odd to leave the head bare. It was a little cool in the coffee shop as it had a long folding window about half the height of the front of the shop where a few people were sitting on stools on both sides of the front drinking their hot drinks and the cold air entering through there was competing with the warm air conditioning inside.
Just then I noticed the mother slowly and gently move her right hand back and forth above the baby’s head as if to sense if there was a draught coming on to the baby’s head. Satisfied with the result the mother then went back to just waiting for her partner to join her and put her right hand back on the baby in that loving embrace. I took the action to mean that the mother was concerned as I was about the possibility of the baby’s head getting cold and had then made a decision that it was safe enough. Perhaps it was the day, the celebration of all Mothers, but the small gesture struck me as so motherly and what it really means to be a mother.
It is not the big things that we commonly think of, the creation of life and carrying it for nine months with all the attendant strain that puts on a human body, the actual birth process and how seemingly impossible it is given the physical limitations in play. The endless meal preparations, the clothing washing and ironing, the nursing through sickness, the one hundred and other things that we take, nay expect a mother to do. It is the countless little things that mothers do that go unnoticed, unheralded but are a constant of a mothers life. That overriding constant of the relationship between mother and the child she has born who develops into another adult. No matter how the child develops in the process through to adulthood and beyond, this one constant is the mothers love and it’s expression in a million little, mostly unnoticed ways.
No other human will form a bond with this little baby in its lifetime like that given by this mother. No other human will think of all the caring things like this mother. Nor will any other human do it without a thought as to whether they should or shouldn’t check this or test that or look out for that, as mothers do. Usually, without too much pre-thought nor post-thought nor complaint, mothers just do it. And usually, no-one else will, ever. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and I am possibly over-generalising but perhaps not. Even if the bond is not expressed as we usually know it, I am sure that it exists somewhere within every mother. I hasten to add that I speak from observation, not experience.
So what did my opinion matter regarding the status of the baby’s head covering, the mother was aware of it and was making her own judgement on what was right for her treasure, her baby, and that was all that counts. The bond was in play and this biggest of all pictures was revealed in all the little things.
* Auskick is a program for young kids to learn the basics of AFL football, click here to learn more.