On this Mother's Day I'm thinking of some mothers special to me . . . Dotty, my first mother, who was at a party in Greenwich Village when she told her husband she wanted to go home and make a baby, and nine months later I was born . . . my father's cousin Peggy, who never had children of her own but who mothered me so affectionately . . . Marion, my stepmother through thick and thin for 42 years and the best grandmother I could ever want for my children . . . my daughter Suzanne, my little nurse when she was a child and I had the flu, who grew up to be a wonderful mother to her own daughter and a remarkable stepmother as well . . . my daughter Gillian, who nursed her dolls when she was little, babied her animals when she grew up, and told me she loved Lizzie, her niece, as her own . . . my daughter-in-law, Leanne, another natural-born loving mother and a pleasure to observe with my grandson.
I'm also thinking of Bonesy, a cat who gave birth in our ice house two years ago. She had no books to guide her, no pediatrician, no Internet. Yet a more devoted mother I've yet to meet. So thin when she first appeared on the property that her bones were showing, she nursed her three babies and kept them clean and warm. When it was time to start weaning she brought them baby rabbits to kill. I'm afraid I interfered with this natural process by removing the rabbits before the hunt commenced. I justified it with the knowledge that I would find homes for the kittens where hunting skills would be optional.
But the thing I remember most about Bonesy's maternal behavior was the way she kept her babies safe. She fiercely drove away all animals, wild or stray. A more territorial cat I had never seen. She had some unusual ideas on what constituted a threat to her babies. One of these was the common pickup truck, which she saw as one of the true forces of evil. More than once I saw her go out into the middle of the road and stand her ground against an approaching pickup. This resulted in more grey hair for me, but I must say she succeeded. In all that time, not one pickup truck entered the ice house and made off with the kittens.
Happy Mother's Day, everyone. May we all attend to our young so diligently, and protect them with everything we have.