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Ranch Scenes

Mother’s Day is every day in the cattle business

Defining what moms mean to a family, from a male perspective, is hard to do. But columnist Troy Marshall gives it a valiant try.

In the cattle business, sire lines always get a lot of press, but in reality, it is the momma cow that is the primary focus for cattlemen. After all, the cowherd is the factory, our legacy and is the distinguishing asset for most cow-calf operations.

For ranching families, the story is similar. It is mom who usually holds the place together and makes our day-to-day lives special.

Representing the male viewpoint, I think the whole “mom thing” is difficult for us to wrap our minds around. I always feel a combination of guilt and awe at the willing self-sacrifice of moms. It just seems like moms contribute more to a family than anyone else.

In order to justify the inequality of this dynamic within my own family, I sometimes chalk it up to God’s plan and the power of the mothering instinct to explain how much moms end up contributing to families on a daily basis.

At times, from a guy’s perspective, the contribution of moms is humbling. Moms don’t seem to need sleep or to be asked twice when someone in their family is in need. For most of us, just saying the word “mom” brings to mind a type of love that sustains us while defying understanding.

As a guy, a mom’s love just creates awe and appreciation. Of course, it is difficult to express the appreciation for all they do, in large part because a mom’s love is so pervasive and such a strong influence in our daily lives that we almost take it for granted. 

So, we find ourselves doing an inadequate job of saying thanks 364 days out of the year. Then, on Mother’s Day, we are supposed to somehow come up with something that lets us express what we all feel and should have done throughout the year. Father’s Day seems about right from a timing standpoint, but a month isn’t long enough to tell a mom thanks for all she does. 

It isn’t that I’m not a romantic, as much as I’m uncreative. I’ll buy lunch after church, and I’ll get some flowers or chocolates and I’ll get a card—inadequate, of course, but it is the thought that counts, isn’t it?

Thankfully, moms really don’t want even that much. I just hope they know that when we say they are the greatest mom ever, and that our kids, our family and our lives are made so much better from their love, that our appreciation is an understatement.

There is something poetic about that, I think. We can’t adequately express our love of moms, so we embrace the eloquence of simplicity, hoping a couple of heart-felt words and token gifts are enough. 

But just in case, I think I will buy that zero-turn mower and put a bow on it. Since we need it, she might not make me take it back. Diamonds are forever, but a mower gets the grass cut. Who says I’m not a romantic?

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!  You really are the best!

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