“No, You always do this. And I catch it big time because I listened to you. No, not after last time.”
“Come on… She’ll have forgotten all about that, it was days ago.”
“Yeah right she doesn’t forget anything.”
“What about that time she left us up in the tree all night. She forgot which one she sent us up.”
“She didn’t forget you doofus. Old Split Tooth was coming around. If you remember, you still got the marks on your butt where he tried to catch you. You were squealing pretty good if I remember right. He fell asleep right at the foot of the tree all night. Mama had a cow until he left.”
“Well that was a little serious. She won’t remember this because it’s small stuff. Mama don’t sweat the small stuff.”
“Just like she didn’t sweat the small stuff when you thought it would be funny to see how many nipples you could get in your mouth at one time. She carried you around by the scruff of your neck for two whole days. The skin on your neck is just now looking normal.”
“That was then this is now. I was younger and slower then. Let’s do it it’ll be fun. You bite her on that spot by her tail that she licks all the time and I’ll jump on her face and hold my paws over her eyes. She won’t even know it was us I bet. Then we’ll hide behind this log. Get ready and bite her. Come on, what’s the worst that can happen.”
There is no disputing that a mother loves all her children equally. She will feed them, watch over them, defend them to her death. But occasionally there appears a young one that is first among equals. One that creates a special bond that is just outside the perimeter of her all encompassing love for each of the young she has.
This one fits that bill. There are eight siblings in this family of coyotes. The others are back at the den which is about 30′ away, where mom told them to stay while she takes a much needed nap. Coyote pups tend to mind their mothers and although they may test the limits some, they usually do what they’re told. But then there is this one. He has been the one from the very beginning that she frets over the most. He doesn’t do what he’s told. He goes off without the slightest regard for safety or his well being, he takes on the world as if it is his by some right no one else was aware of.
She disciplines him but it doesn’t seem to take. Where the other pups are reluctant to approach mom when she says it’s quiet time. “Leave me alone.” This pup will approach her fearlessly and say “Getup! Play with me. Give me something to eat. I found a dead ground squirrel, come see. Hey, come on!” She may snap and growl and even nip him but he is unfazed, and she loves him for it.
It’s hard to define what this special bond is. But it’s there. It will be there for as long as they’re together. And maybe longer if coyotes have memories. She will never admit it but this is her favorite son.
What happens when you’re little and the cold winds blow, when terrors are many and there’s no one there, no one that cares or will help with your tears, a comforting presence who lessens your fears. For most thankfully, there’s always a safe haven, we know her as mother and she represents calm and safety and most of all love. When, at the end of the day comfort and warmth makes everything ok again, being next to your mom is the only thing that matters. As we travel along this journey and deal with the problems of life we can always find comfort available to us if we cherish her memory. It can still warm and comfort us, it can still bring us home again.
Mom and the kid have been cooped up together all winter and it is time to finally get outside and get some fresh air. Trouble is it’s cold out. Not, don’t blink or your eyelids will freeze shut cold, but cold enough for a brand new cub that has never known anything but the warmth of the cozy den and it’s mother’s ample body. Mom however is hungry, really hungry and she needs to eat something right now. The quickest most reliable meal is a ground squirrel which she can dig up pretty quick and she is working on that now. Wherever mom goes the cub goes too and today is no exception. The weather makes little to no difference to the mother and she basically ignores it. But today is an exceptionally awful day for weather, it’s cold, it’s snowing, the wind is blowing, the snow is wet and heavy and this is probably the first time the cub has been out. Mom is determined to dig up a ground squirrel and sets about that task with fierce determination leaving the youngster to hover about the edge of the activity. Thing is the snow is really cold on little paws, and it is taking a very long time for this ground squirrel catching business to happen, and why can’t we go back to the den, and won’t this wind stop blowing and OK that’s it I’m taking matters into my own hands, I mean feet. The only warm place for miles around is Mom’s back and that’s where he’s headed. This cub probably only weighs 15-20 lbs. and except for the sharp needle like claws digging in she doesn’t even notice him up there. The cub’s only problem now is staying on her back as she goes through the gyrations of digging for this squirrel. He’s only thrown off a few times but now that he’s learned the secret to staying warm he quickly climbs back up and this ground squirrel hunting thing is a lot more tolerable. This behavior won’t last much longer though as mom won’t tolerate it after he gets to a certain size which will happen pretty fast but then the snow going away will happen pretty fast too. It is spring after all but right now it’s really handy to have a mom around.