Motherhood: Protecting The Homefront


With three children in school full-time, I’ve taken on the role of resident Mother Nature during the day, and this morning things got dicey.   Our neighbors have a pond, and we both border the woods into Audobon land.  For a few weeks, we’ve been seeing a couple of large coyotes creeping along the edge of the pond, clearly in search of dinner.  There is a muskrat living down there, and I suspect that is what they are after.

I’m worried about the muskrat because I worry about absolutely everything, and have since I left the hospital with my first baby.  It started as we drove out of the hospital parking lot.  I was certain my husband had not secured the base of the infant seat in properly and our new bundle of joy would go launching out of her seat the moment the car stopped short.  Now I pass my days worrying about who forgot their snack, their library book, or to wear their sneakers for gym.  Sometimes I worry I will forget that my empty light is on and run out of gas, or that I will forget to charge my phone and be stuck somewhere without service.  I worry my children don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables. or that my husband’s shoulder will never get better.  I worry that I will get cancer, or someone I know will die young.   I worry that I will never, ever be organized again in my entire life and that proper time management is a thing of my past.  In a nutshell, my worry-meter is constantly on overdrive.

Anyhow, this morning I was on pond patrol again, looking for signs of the coyotes.  At about 10:00, there was a sighting.  The bushy fellow came out of the woods looking sly, creeping towards the muskrat lodge.  He is large, and resembles the big bad wolf.  We have big sliding doors in our family room, where I had a great view of what was going on.  I kicked into overdrive, yelling at my dog Baxter to “Get it!” as I pointed towards the coyote.  Baxter earned an “F” for his (lack of) effort, as he laid down, rolled over, and looked up at me, begging for some scratches.

Taking things into my own hands, I launched into action, busted out my back door, and walked swiftly towards the fence in my yard which overlooks the pond.  I then noticed the coyote was frozen, staring me down.  I hadn’t expected that, and I felt my weak bladder suddenly acting up.  At this point, the coyote was a few hundred yards away.  I thought of the muskrat, and my decade-long training as a mother.  I charged the fence, making very loud “Grrr! Grrr!” noises at the top of my lungs, over and over again.  With that, he turned and ran quickly back into the woods.  He was gone, for now.

Once the ordeal was over, I realized there was someone walking by out on the street.  Thankfully, I didn’t know her.  She gave me an  “I-wonder-if-that-lady-remembered-to-take-her-anti-depressents” sort of wave, a nervous smile, and briskly moved on, making it clear she had no intention to stop.  If she only knew that I was just a suburban mom helping out a helpless little muskrat, perhaps she would see me differently.

I came back in, switched the laundry to the dryer, and took a deep breath.  Does this coyote know he is dealing with?  I know he’ll be back, and I’ll be waiting.




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