God-Mother to the Rescue

A few weeks ago, late one Saturday night, I had a mini breakdown.  I was beyond tired and totally exhausted.  Vivian was only five weeks old, and I was feeling like every day was just about survival.  I didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t able to slow down and enjoy the journey of motherhood. I missed feeling like an active participant in my life.  I felt like we needed to change course as a family.  Chris was kind enough to let me have my moment, and then we went to bed.

The next morning the kids woke up far too early.  I let Chris sleep in, and while he dozed I decided it was time to make a fresh start.  I sent Evie up to our room with a note for Chris that read “Do you want to go for a family hike? Circle YES or NO.” Two minutes later Evie came back down stairs.  YES was circled.

So, we packed all three kids into the car and drove 90 miles west of Chicago to Starved Rock State Park.  With deep canyons and steep ravines and ancient sandstone , it is a breathtaking Jurassic oasis in the middle of corn fields.

The trails loop through dense woods.  Occasionally they align with the Illinois River, where swans paddle and eagles soar.  Listening to the water lap against the shoreline settled my frazzled nerves.  I was at peace.

While Evie and Mack explored Wildcat Canyon, Chris and I sat with sweet Vivian on a fallen log.  For the first time in weeks, I felt myself breathe.  I could actually relax and enjoy a simple, quiet moment.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude for my life and my little family.

Evie and Mack never whined or grew tired.  They were so happy to explore a new part of our world where they were free to run and climb and yell.  They love our city lifestyle, but they know how to appreciate the simplicity of nature.  Little Vivian snoozed in her snug Moby Wrap for the entire hike.  Occasionally she’d open her eyes to make sure all was right, but then she’d curl up a little tighter and continue her nap.

Nearly three hours later the five of us emerged from the woods. The rain had just started, but we were all feeling refreshed and energized.  Something happened to us during that hike.  We reconnected without even realizing it, and life as a family of five has been so much easier ever since.

Mother Nature has a remarkable ability to heal.  Broken wounds. Broken hearts. Broken souls.  The times when I feel the most lost I turn to her.  And she never lets me down. I speak of Mother Nature and God interchangeably.  Whenever Evie asks about how the world works, I often include them in my answer. The other day Evie asked about “God Mother” – she gets the message, and that makes me happy.

The best part of the day?  Vivian smiled for the first time!

Did you like this? Share it:

Written by

More posts by:

4 Comments for this entry

  1. LOVE this post. So beautiful and honest. There is indeed so much of God in nature. It’s no wonder that so many native religions speak of Mother Earth – we all sense that primal connection to the divine when we’re surrounded by the beauty of creation. But I really loved how you described this experience as healing and life-giving. We mamas need more of this: honesty about how hard it is and celebration of the rewarding moments that keep us going.

  2. Shannon says:

    Hi Maureen,

    How about Sunday church? That does it for me and my family.

    Love your blog!

  3. Mary says:

    I am longing for a hike in the woods now! Beautiful.

  4. Cami says:

    Such a beautiful post, and I completely agree. Our friends just got married in the woods in southern Ohio, and the three of us (me, my husband, and our son) made it our first family vacation. It was only 2.5 days, but what a difference it made! Being in the woods, playing in the creeks, climbing on the rocks… it grounds you, literally. I feel like a new person, and so much more connected as a family. As my son gets older, we will take him out to see our Mother Nature as often as possible. Thank you for expressing the exact sentiment I was feeling!

Leave a comment