The clothes are clean and stacked neatly in drawers. The sheets are washed and fitted over their mattresses. Pictures are hung and baby swings are assembled. It’s officially crunch time for this twin-mama and each day brings on a new opportunity to check another item off the to-do list.
When planning the design and overall theme of the nursery, Jimmy and I knew immediately that wolf cubs would be where we started. In fact, a small stuffed wolf was one of the items I used to tell Jimmy we were expecting.
Why, you ask?
As avid Game of Thrones viewers, we, like many, identified with House Stark. For those that were not avid watchers (I’m not judging, there is a lot of gory fight scenes and a lot of boob scenes), the Stark family sigil is a grey direwolf and they boast the phrase:
The Stark family embrace this mentality that we’re better together than we are alone. There is a deep sense of loyalty towards the member of one’s “pack,” (or family) accompanied by the fierce need to protect one another.
This wolf pack mentality sparked an interest in the wolf for us and led me and Jimmy to begin researching wolves in nature. It’s quite fascinating what we found. Wolves operate in a way that seems beyond animalistic ability. The functionality of a wolf pack is incredible, be that communication between wolves or their nomadic movement to new territories.
Below are some of my favorite facts about wolves:
- Wolf packs are lead by the alpha male and female. They’re the only ones that mate and stay together, literally, until death due them part. Out of respect, they are the first to eat.
- Each wolf’s howl is like a fingerprint. They howl at different pitches to ensure no wolf has the same howl as another in the pack. This creates howls that are distinctive, allowing the pack to know who is in trouble or who is “speaking.” If a new wolf enters a pack, they listen closely to then change the pitch of their howl.
- Wolves have deep social ties and show affection towards others in a pack. They love sacrificially, known to die for the survival of the others in the pack.
- A wolf will lower their tales in the presence of the alpha male and female as a sign of submission. Wolves demonstrating the highest tails are the alphas.
- The hunters include male and female wolves (girl power). The elderly and weaker wolves stay back to watch the cubs in a joint effort.
- Speaking of girl power, it’s possible for a pack to be led by a lone female wolf.
- My favorite fact of all is the way in which wolves travel. When packs are on the move, it is not the alpha wolf that leads. The weakest and sickest wolves head the pack, thus setting the pace for the rest of the wolves. Then, sandwiched between the strongest warriors are the young. Finally, the alpha takes up the rear, ensuring no wolf gets left behind, remaining aware of dangers that could surround the pack.
Upon researching, Jimmy and I found that organizing our family structure like that of the grey wolf pack could prove highly beneficial. It’s changed the way we understand Sadie (our dog) and her constant need to sleep with us, protect us from the Amazon delivery man, and even her need to follow us into the bathroom (fun fact, dogs know you’re most vulnerable while going potty so they “stand guard.”) We centered the nursery around wolf cubs because, as we introduce two cubs into our pack, there are things we can teach our children about family through the structure of the wolf pack.
First, respect for elders and those in charge. Wolves show respect in lowering their tails when in the presence of the alpha and other elder wolves that might have stepped down from that position. Second, we can teach the importance of family first. Jimmy and I are both highly family oriented and see the importance of keeping family at the forefront. We stay loyal to each other and protect each other. We are each other’s safe space. Third, there is the importance of a sacrificial leader. Wolves would die for one another. The alpha wolf heads the back, prioritizing the safety of the pack over his own. I would love to raise little boys that know the importance of putting others before oneself.
Biblical lessons and Christian beliefs, mixed with the laws of the wolf pack, will be the foundations of parenting. We are excited to share stories and facts about our favorite animal with our little boys, as well as demonstrate the sacrificial love and loyalty we have for them.
The pack survives.