On the road to Lightning Ridge from Tamworth this past week a mob of kangaroos did what they do – jump accros the highway just after sunset.
Despite our best efforts, one Eastern Grey took on the bullbar of the vehicle.
You can guess which party came of worse.
Thing is, there was a joey in the pouch of the now-dead mother roo.
Hairless, stunned, breathing rapidly, but very much alive.
By the side of the Gwydir Highway, by the lights of the car my colleague pulled the joey from the pouch and placed it into a towel in my arms.
Onward into the Ridge we drove, having phoned WIRES with the news we were coming in about 15 minutes.
The WIRES representative named Dot (yes Dot and the Kangaroo for those old enough to remember) collected the little female joey (pictured) and assured me she was in good hands.
In the intervening moment that I was holding that bundle of legs, tail and ears, I instinctively did what mothers do – rocked the little one back and forth, up and down, shushing her and telling her everything was going to be alright.
I wasn’t entirely sure that it would be in truth, for this little one literally ripped from her mother’s body. But that’s what I told her.
It’s this thing that we do .. not just mums, dads too, and grandmas and grandads, aunts and uncles.
For today though, let’s agree that this is true, more often than not: mothers take little ones into their arms, and we make it our business to tell them that everything will be ok.
Have you noticed a group of women standing around, talking about new babies?
Next time you see this, just look at how many of the women start rocking instinctively, or find someone’s hair to ruffle, or a back to rub.
It’s a thing we do, whether we birthed the baby or not; whether it’s our child or not.
The African proverb says it takes a village to raise a child.
If that’s true (and I happen to think it is), then none of us are truly childless.
This Mother’s Day thank you to the village.
And to the mothers everywhere, whether your children are biological, spiritual, near, far, babies or nannas, in your pouch or outside the pouch, a bittersweet memory or a longing yet unfulfilled – have a happy Mother’s Day.