A half a mile later, I saw her again. This time, she was at the water's edge with her family, while a mom and her little children tossed pieces of bread into the water. As I passed, I took a good look. Was she nosing chunks of food to her little ones? Was she swimming in the background, supervising their meal?
Heck no. She was eating. In fact, she was at the forefront, gobbling up all the bread she could as soon as it was tossed. Her babies got some if they were fast enough, but Momma wasn't about to forgo a meal to ensure they did.
Again, I was dumbfounded. Where was the mothering instinct? Had I stumbled upon the world's most selfish duck?
Not likely, but here was another lesson for me. Like putting the oxygen mask on yourself before you put it on your kids if the plane is going down, the momma mallard knew a simple truth: if the mom falls, the babies fall too. Quite the opposite of "going against nature", this duck was being true to her basic survival instinct for both herself and her babies. She knew that she needed food to be able to provide for her family. She knew needed to take care of herself, and she did so first and unashamedly.
Wow. This was alot to process at 9:30am on a Monday. But, I think I got it: I can't always come last, and sometimes, I have to come first. It was a good reminder that my health and wellness is inextricably linked to the health and wellness of my family, and that me taking care of me is, in actuality, also me taking care of them. And now, instead of being a helicopter mom or a tiger mom, I'm going to work on being a duck mom.