I’ve always known that the SurvivalMom gene has been around for thousands of years. Mrs. Noah set a standard for us when she held her own in preparing for a catastrophic event and living in a boat for a year with hundreds of animals and her family. We may think that stocking up on dozens of cans of soup and buckets of wheat is a new trend, but that’s hardly true! Millions of other SurvivalMoms have set examples for us.
Today, as our family stopped by the Donner Memorial State Park, I was vividly reminded of the rich heritage that is ours. I was a few minutes late for a nearly-antique video that told the story of western pioneers and the Donner party in particular. I’d heard the story of the Donners before, but one anecdote caught my attention.
One of two families who survived the horrific ordeal was the Reed family. Young Virginia Reed later wrote about her mother, Margaret, hiding bits of food over a period of time so her four children could enjoy a special Christmas dinner. She lovingly combined a few beans, a bit of tripe, some bacon, and dried apples, and told her children that Christmas morning in 1846, “Today you can eat all you want.” The family had been slowly starving to death, their father had gone to find help, and I can only imagine what am amazing meal that must have been.
Snow was piled twenty feet high outside their primitive cabin, their situation was dire, but in the middle of overwhelming fear and desperation, Margaret Reed thought of the one thing she could do to make her children smile. Perhaps for just a few hours, the five of them forgot where they were and the death that surrounded them. I’ll bet her children never forgot the moment, nor their mother’s love.
I cried when I heard the story of Margaret Reed’s Christmas dinner. Isn’t it the perfect example of what being a SurvivalMom is all about? At the end of the day, it isn’t about how much we have stored or knowing how to can, knit, and shoot a rifle. It’s all about love. In the midst of a crisis, when my kids look up at me and say, “Mom, are we going to be okay?”, I want to be able to say, “Yes.” Isn’t that why you do what you do? Being a SurvivalMom is about love, and we have the richest heritage of all.
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