Meditation: on Mother’s Day and Rescue Bunnies
My mom was the first to show me how to be a good mom.
- kind, patient, compassionate
- a teacher who does not condescend to her students
- a worrier
- a cryer (yep, that’s where I get it from)
I watched her anxiety as my brother or I faced hard things: new skills, challenging situations, sad experiences that she could not fix for us–or maybe she could, but knew we had to figure it out on our own.
At our sporting events, she cheered the loudest.
When I went away to college, I think she felt as bad as I did when I got my first illness and wondered who would bring me soup and tissues.
During all four years at college, my parents quasi-adopted many of my friends from far away who would stay with us for Thanksgivings or Easters.
I remember being bewildered by her annoyance at my behaviors: I would yell down the stairs instead of walking down and talking with her; I would get so engrossed in a book or whatever I was doing that I would appear to hear her (“Yep. Uh-huh.”) but retain nothing of her instructions or questions.
[Be satisfied, Mom: my children do the same things, and drive me the same amount of crazy. I totally deserve it.]
If we had superhero capes, hers might have a stack of books topped with a (half-full) cup of tea, encompassed by a giant heart.
Mine might have a stack of books topped with three sippy cups erupting like fountains.
My mom, my Nana and Grandma, my awesome aunts Mary, Mary, Mary, Rea, and Cindy: these women taught me about motherhood through their examples of sacrifice and love to their own children and all children.
On Mother’s Day and every day, I honor them.
* * *
When our babies first attached to a lovey–and we determined that this stuffed animal/blanket was their one and only favorite–Alan and I got an extra of each.
We have been very lucky so far not to have lost Bear, Munny, or Bunny, but occasionally they get misplaced. (Like, inside a bag that gets stuffed inside a strainer in a cabinet. Or tucked neatly into the nightstand by the guest bed. Or buried under a mountain of other stuffed animals and toys in the tent in the corner of our basement.)
So Jamie has his Auxiliary Bear, and Audrey and Theresa have an Auxiliary Bunny. But somewhere along the line, Theresa started calling the back-up “Rescue Bunny,” which has stuck.
Rescue Bunny is not identical to Original Bunny. It is also not just a back-up. It serves as a support system in time of crisis, and its very existence is reassuring.
I wrote about this last year, too: how I have been blessed to have a strong mother as well as additional mother figures. My Rescue Mamas. Penny, Mary Jane, Sue, Jacki, Pat, Rie, Elke, BJ, Cleo, and others on my journey. They do not replace my own mom, but their presence in my life has helped shaped me into the woman and mama I am.
This is what I hope for my kids too: because, Jamie, Audrey, and Theresa, your mama knows a lot, but I don’t know everything. Someday you might want to talk to a mama-type person about something that is not in my areas of expertise. Or you need a different perspective. And you will have your grandmas and your Aunts Karen, AJ, Jen, and Maya–aunts by blood and marriage and friendship–to guide you through your experiences. And Abbie, Jillian, Nicole, Andrea, Lisa, and other women whom we have not yet met who will help shape you into your best selves.
On Mother’s Day and every day, I honor all of these mamas. My tribe.