I have finally drug home a creature for whom I do not hang the moon! I am not the preferred playmate, and to tell the truth, I am only mildly surprised. Jax-the-barn-cat much prefers Captain Schenanigans to myself, and has esteemed him as Exceptional Playmate Extraordinaire. I don’t take it personally. Everyone prefers my playful husband when it comes to recreation, including the Middle School Youth Group at church- for whom he is perfectly skilled.
But this does not stop a certain Mountain Dew colored kitty from talking non-stop at me from the moment he hears my voice, before I even open the back door. For the very same reason, every evasive hen we have comes running across the yard in a low, flappy-feathered parade when they see me descending the deck steps. And the exact same reason I seem to be the only one able to catch both bunnies,and Good Bunny never ever runs from me.
I am the Mama.
You see, you don’t actually have to bear children to be the Mama. I am the bringer of all tasty treats, slinger of savory leftovers, and the can opening hero to all who reside here. I clean their bedding, fill their bellies, and bind their wounds. I protect them from their fears, shelter them from bad weather, and make sure they are hugged. And then there are my human children, for whom I do much of the same, but expect a bit more from.
For example, I instructed 4yr old Manchild to take out the recycling. He interpreted this as “please bungee your shorts to the front door knocker while you are still in them”, and proceeded to follow suit. Being the Mama means that while you have the power to hand out orders like a Queen to her peasants, you are unfortunately also the very one the peasants call when they disobey you and need to be rescued. This thinking makes no sense, but THAT is what separates the Queen from the Mama.
Of course I will de-bungee your shorts as you sway from my front door. But you will in fact pay dearly for that act of treason with most of my patience. You will now have to walk the line better than Johnny Cash for the rest of the day, as the Patience Tank refills. You’d also better pray your sister doesn’t require any siphoning off of the Patience Tank, or dinnertime might high-five bedtime as they cross paths! That’s how being the Mama works.
Being the Mama has several hidden roles apart from the obvious. As a skilled super slueth, it is up to the Mama to figure out that the new cat will only eat shredded non-seafood canned food in a brown gravy. Or that the longer you lay with one child, the faster he falls asleep, but the opposite is true for his sister. You need to figure out how all aspects of our kingdom will keep running while you are away. As well as which peasants need to be indoors, and which need to be outdoors. Always, ALWAYS, give the Manchild peasants some outdoor time. For the sake of Kingdoms everywhere.
Another example of who belongs in the house or not; having recently had to take a rabbit with a traumatic brain injury to the vet for euthanasia (due to a accident with a wooden garden stake), plus a more recent call to Poison Control for 2 bunnies who shredded flexible gel ice packs and tasted the contents, I recognized that we had to tread lightly in the bunny department for a while. Lest we get Bunny Protective Services called on our tail. So as a result of our 93 degree Baltimore weather, instead of handing out plastic ketchup bottles of ice to the bunnies, we bring them into the foyer for the hottest hours of the day and give them carrots. They LOVE this plan! It’s a prime example of a Mama plan.
The Mama sometimes wishes for a cloak of invisibility, in order to pause her usual Mama tasks. I would be lying if I said there were not some times I come home and hide in the house to avoid the cat and hens, who kick up a squawking ruckus when they see me, always demanding food. The Mama may feel omnipresent, but often wishes she didn’t have to be.
But the Mama does get to celebrate victories in her domain as well. There were mass amounts of cheering, dancing, and high fives at the YMCA kiddie pool this week as all four life guards blew their whistles at the same time. I didn’t even have to ask what this was about as they ordered everyone out of the pool. I knew it meant there was poop in the pool. What I also knew was that this time, IT WAS NOT MY KID!! I was the happiest Mama on the pool deck, laughing as Girlchild did the It-Wasn’t-Our-Kid dance before heading to the changing rooms, and high- fiving my brother-in-law in victory. This Mama and her child were not to blame today, and that was all I needed to hear.
The Mama is a great role. One I was created to obtain. I often think I would like to be the professional Mama to all the baby chicks in a hatchery before they are sold. Or the head Mama on a mini-goat farm, or miniature horses. I have tried being the Mama to a garden of tiny veggie plants, but they dislike my parenting style and tend to show their rebellion by rarely living into adulthood. So I’ll stick to mama-ing those who can give me a little more feedback, yet hopefully not too much.
Starting to think goat farming is where its at.
This week I earned feedback in having a “You are no longer the Best Mom in the World! But you are not the worst mom yet either!” screamed at me in the fairgrounds parking lot. It was not one of my shinier Mama moments. But hearing Manchild referring to the outdoor mister at the fair as “The Man that cools you off” (think Mister), made up for much of it. Then having additional blog material made up for the rest.
There is no retiring from being a Mama, but the role diversifies enough so that it rarely gets boring. Much of the time you get to pick and choose who you are Mama to, so that parts fun. I was Mama once to a duck who became a jerk. She wouldn’t quit tormenting my hens, so I turned her over to someone else to mama her. No thank you, Berniece, my days as your Mama are over.
Thankfully, Mama’s rarely give up their own. Everyone can use some mama-ing in their daily lives, no matter how smart or old you get. And everyone should get a chance to be a Mama to another, no matter the species or demographic they are. For now, this Mama is allergy medicined up, and sleepy. I must throw on my cloak of invisibility and make a dash for my nightly chambers, before the peasants awaken and demand more food!
Mama-ing before a Christmas concert one year with Girldhild. She can dress herself, it’s the details like earrings that require a Mama!