Do you ever have those moments in your parenting life that come completely out of the blue from total mundane activities you know your child is going to remember forever? The ones that are unscripted and naturally occurring but end up being the total best. We had one of these moments lately.

One Sunday afternoon, my husband opened the grill to start dinner and nonchalantly announced, “Oh a mouse made a nest . . . and it has babies.”

“You are joking,” I said. 

“No, I’m not. She’s holding them,” he replied.

My 4-year-old daughter and I rushed over to see. Sure enough, a mouse was in the corner of the grill holding one baby in her mouth with another one close by. Immediate concern about the safety of these babies and their mama washed over my daughter and me. Immediate concern about our grill and our dinner washed over my husband.

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“Everyone go inside. I need to take care of this,” my husband calmly said. 

Knowing what that meant, all the mama feelings and hormones inside me kicked in.

Supported by my daughter’s cries, I forced my husband to put the babies and the nest in a shoebox and try to catch the mom with them so they could all be together.

Of course, the mom escaped and took off to hide in a drainpipe near our house. I yelled and was upset at my husband, who was kind enough at this point not to call me a hypocrite and point out the mousetraps I happily asked him to set in our garage. I told him to at least put the box with the babies near where we saw the mom take off and perhaps she might have a chance of finding them. 

What happened next blew me away.

My daughter and I sat in a chair together both in a mild depression over the current situation of this poor mama mouse being separated from her babies, when my husband said, “I hear her, Nikki.” 

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Sure enough, the mama was still around, hidden somewhere close by, squeaking all kinds of sounds. I’d like to think she was saying to her babies, “Mama is still here, don’t worry.”

The next thing we know we saw a tiny mouse dart out from hiding, go to the shoebox, grab one of her little babies, and take off for cover with it. One by one she did this until she had rescued them all. Keep in mind my husband was still at the grill only a couple of feet away from her.

This was one tough mom.

And then it hit me, and I felt it. The power of a mom’s love for her babiesthat drive inside to protect them and care for them no matter what the circumstancesthat transcends across all species. 

I know, I know, mice are gross. They destroy things, they carry disease, and they eat their young, but trust me, this mama was not eating her young. This mama was braving a giant to rescue those babies, and it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. 

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I was fortunate enough to watch this mother’s act of courage while snuggling my 4-year-old on my lap, and we were both crying tears of joy while this mama and her babies were being reunited.

I have no doubt my daughter will remember this. I have no doubt it will impact her somehow in her motherhood experience many years from now even if it’s just an implicit memory and that makes my heart happy. More and more as I do this whole mom thing, I’m starting to understand it is less and less about the planned out, structured stuff and more and more about thisthe things that happen in the blank spaceand simply being there to bear witness to those moments.

Originally published on the author’s blog

Nichole Cox

I am a mommy of two young kids and a wife to my husband I have known for the past 18 years. I have an M.ED in counseling, and in my life before kids, I was a school counselor at both the middle school and high school level. I currently am a stay-at-home mom, my best job title yet.