My mother never let me have pets other than Betta fish. My Betta Bonus lived 5 or 6 years and traveled back and forth from Connecticut to home on every college break. I was never much of an animal person anyway. After college, but still living home, I asked if I could get a rabbit. For no known reason, I decided I wanted one. Mom said no. She said, when you have your own house, you can have whatever you want.
I never, and I mean never, have wanted human children. When certain people hear that, they flick back with trite retorts like, “You will someday” and “You’ll change your mind when you’re with the right person.” Mmm hmmmm. Socrates said, “Know thyself” and I always have when it comes to this topic. And I know human children are not for me. When I met my “right person,” it was maybe our second or third date when the topic of pet rabbits came up. We both wanted one yet never had one. So, in my own way I guess, I did become a mother when I met the right person.
To me, being a mom or serving in any loving role is about spiritual connection. The labels of mother, father, grandchild, uncle, what-have-you are all human constructs. On the level of the soul, in our truth, the labels don’t exist. Love is love. Care is care. Compassion is compassion. Connection is connection.
Judge all you want, but my love for my boys Peanut and Tater Tot and the love I see my fellow bunny moms, dads and volunteers give to these four-legged angels is the truth. If you need to label it, the connection is as maternal or paternal as a human-human relationship. Just like I don’t have the desire for human children, not everyone with a pet wants or will reach or can reach the connection. Those are the people who indiscriminately or circumstantially give up their pets. But that’s a topic for another day.
So Mom, thank you for not letting me have a rabbit when I wasn’t ready. You are a phenomenal mother (obviously, look at what you made!) and you knew yourself and knew me enough to know that pet-parenting was not appropriate at that time. When the time was right and I became a bunny-mom, you embraced your grandbunnies more than I even expected, since you aren’t necessarily an animal person. But I know you admire and respect the love I have for my boys and the compassion I channel for all of Long Island’s domestic rabbits through rescue work.
Happy Mother’s Day, whether your children hop, bark, talk… whether they live with you, live with another family, live in a rescue or shelter… they are your children, if you feel the love and connection in your soul.
Special shout out to the foster moms out there—you are love.
I’ve been thinking about this since yesterday. My walk in life has been very different than yours. Animals have always been a part of my family for as long as I can remember. Animals have taught me about responsibility, love, commitment the pain of loss. Like you, I thought I would never want or have a “human baby” of my own. In all honesty, I had issues I had to work out. I would not have been a good mother at an earlier time in life. I don’t think anyone should become a mother unless they are ready to commit to raising a child. I did not have my first child till I was 41 years old. Raising children has been the most difficult thing I have ever done. At the same time, I can’t even explain how much I love my “human children”. I have had to learn to give of myself in ways I never thought was possible. As you know, I still love animals and my children have grown up with learning to respect and care for animals. There have been times when I have felt guilty and I’ve wished I could give more, do more. Our dear friend Mary Ann once said something go me that made me rethink this feeling. She said, ” how is it that I do so much?”. I said, What do you mean, I only have 4 rabbits, you have 12″. She said “how many rabbits is one child worth?”. The truth is, I could never compare the two. Yes, I have a deep loving connection to my animals, I feel they communicate with me. But, what I feel with my human children is something incredibly intense. I physically carried them, I held them for hours, taught them all the basic skills, taught them morals, spirituality, sent them to school, supported their various interests, listened to their concerns. I encourage and cheer them on. I confront them and redirect them when they are choosing a dangerous, hurtful road. Again, it’s the hardest thing I have ever done and the most painful and rewarding. I almost missed out on this crazy roller coaster. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that everyone should parent, in my job I see lots of evidence that points to the fact that not everyone should parent. Parenting requires making certain sacrifices that some people are unable or unwilling to make. It is important to know yourself as the stakes are high. Damaged human beings can cause far more damage than any animal can. At the same time well socialized, loving human beings can do amazing, good things- just look at you!
Pingback: Mother's Day Tribute - Believe In Bunnies