Dear Mother: On Bats and Handling with Care

Dear Mother,

You know that moment in the church pew, when everything is all decorum and near-gloom serious? And then something happens, a smell or a sound or the preacher makes a slip, and suddenly you’re uncontrollably tickled – like someone is pinning you down? And you can’t breathe for laughing, and you know that a snort is coming, and your lips are about to rattle out in hysterics?

Yesterday, that happened here in my home.

My tenderest son started going to public school last week, so every day is a surprise, new math techniques, a new-found fossil, a new friend, a new way to draw a dragon or Angry Birds scene. Yesterday as soon as I pulled my car into the pickup line, as I opened the van door, he began excitedly yelling to me about the amazing park ranger that came. He got to touch her pet corn snake, and he has a corn snake, too, so they bonded.

Apparently, this lovely park ranger brought little paper agreements that they all signed. Isaac showed it to me with such pride. He’d signed to never ever enter a cave or crevice ever ever ever again, in order to protect the endangered bat population, so that our ecosystem can again find balance.

He began to describe an awful disease the bats keep getting because of humans. In detail, tears began to stream down his face in bucket-fulls. Finally, he walked away bawling, and I hid against the wall, so tickled I had to lean in. He came back to me again and again.

“5 million bats! 5 million bats!”

For some reason I thought it an appropriate time to remind him that his uncle Scott is getting married next month. I had to remind him that Scott is getting married in a stalagmite forrest IN A CAVE! We have to go into a cave next month! (Yes. I know. We’re an interesting bunch.)

I may as well have told him we were going in there with machine guns. We were already having the funeral for Five …  Million … Bats.

He wept aloud, “Doesn’t Scotty know that animals have feelings, too?!” And I literally had to turn my back to keep from laughing directly into his face.

Then he whispered, “Mama, please pray.” And I said, “right now?”

“Yes,” he said, “right now; pray for the bats.”

I cuddled up next to him,  held him tightly, and began laughing so hard that I nearly knocked us both down. The dramatic pause I took before finally getting a word out, it seems that it would have clued him in. But he didn’t notice, because he was so upset. Therefore, I prayed for the bats – that they would live and be healed and that we would care for the earth as God has asked us to.

Mother, sometimes our children turn our hearts. My laughter settled into recognition, the balance of things in sovereign hands while simultaneously given over to our stewardship. Isn’t that exactly what motherhood is – the *both/and* of God’s control and our stewardship of little lives?

What a delicate eco-system we live in: in church pews and marriages, with our pledges and our babies. We release, yet we handle with care. We can’t give them breathe, yet we show them life.

Stewarding with you – and often with laughter,


Have you written a Mother Letter? Starting April 17th through Mother’s Day on May 8th, there will be a Mother Letters link-up party  for a chance to be encouraged by your blog community and a chance to win some new pretty things from my etsy shop, A Savage Heart! Brand spankin new Spring/Summer pretties will be posted there this weekend, too. Making things makes me happy.

Writing these letters also makes me happy. Will you write a Mother letter, too? Curate with me.


About me


Emily @ The Pilot's Wife
Reply April 11, 2012

Positively HOWLING with laughter. Oh Isaac.

Reply April 11, 2012

That... is a keeper. HIlarious

Reply April 11, 2012

oh. these children.

Jessica Y
Reply April 11, 2012

Gave me good giggles this afternoon ;)

Reply April 11, 2012

I think the hardest laughter point is during a discipline- my kids have come up with some real howlers over the years with their reasoning- and here we're having to keep a straight face and act serious. There was this one time that was absolutely, and James couldn't do it- he actually had to slip out of the room and down the hall to laugh- and I was fine until he came back to the room, and then *I* couldn't stop laughing. Eventually James and I are laughing so hard, tears are running down our faces, and the kid is looking at us like "I've officially really screwed up. They're completely off their rockers." Which just made us laugh more...I think Mrs. Lora Lynn up theres does a great job of writing mother letters that bring on the humor. I know when I leave her place I will have laughed and/or cried (sometimes for the same reason). <3

Reply April 12, 2012

I love and hate those moments. My little boy is so deliciously naive that I laugh at him and he gets so sad about it but I wish I could express how much I love it, revel in it, obsess about it. I wish he could understand how most of the giggle is just overwhelming emotion and affection for him!!!
Oh mercy.

Shelly Miller
Reply April 12, 2012

Oh, you told this so well. Made me giggle because I have been there leaning into the wall with laughter. And his heart is so tender, it's lovely. I just bought something at a Savage Heart. You amaze me with all you do. And thanks for the prompt on writing a Mother Letter. The marriage letters were a stretch for me but such a great excercise.

Reply April 12, 2012

I had a similar moment just yesterday following wednesday night service. I am embarassed to say that, my laughter followed my husband showing me my son's coloring of Jesus. (I know this horrible) but I must explain it was a glue on eyes & yarn kinda thing and my son had made his face like a clown. I got tickled thinking of Jesus Dressed as a clown and then imagined several homes filled with the clown like drawing on display proudly in their living sopaces. It got me so tickled that I had to turn not to laugh in front of him. My son is very sensitive and would have cried if saw my actions.

Reply April 12, 2012

If your bat handle is too thick, and feels uncomfortable or awkward when you grip it, you can sand it down using a simple process.

Reply April 12, 2012


It was all I could do not to laugh and dance with joy when my daughter's gerbil died...

But I'm evil like that.

AND I hated that gerbil.

diana trautwein
Reply April 12, 2012

Oh, these tender hearts! Yours, too, Mama A. Laughter and tears are so close together, you know - and this was hilarious and touching at the exact same moment. Somehow I missed that these mother letters are a project invitation....hmmm....

Brandon E. Samuel
Reply April 13, 2012

This is very interesting blog and for sure, we will be happy to read it. Thanks that you shared. I love this link up.. Good thing you post such valuable information like this.
So thanks for hosting!

Reply April 13, 2012

Oh the hilarity....such a sweet funny story, and what a tender-hearted little boy you have. Love this!

Reply April 16, 2012

this is my FAVORITE!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *