Yesterday I had a bad day. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. For this, I blame my kids. I was woken at 6am by Violet and Elsa screaming at each other in the bedroom. One of them had inflicted some pain on the other. Our house rule is that no one comes out of their room or down the stairs until their clock says 7am. I don’t want to hear from them unless someone has an injury. This mothership greatly values sleep.
Along with getting woken up too early, I couldn’t fall asleep last night. Ava and I were watching this documentary called The Last Lion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoAcNdeEf_Y). It was about the last wild lions on the planet. They live in Africa in the bush. The movie is about their struggle for survival among all the other wild animals. These lions are fighting for their lives against other lion tribes, herds of huge buffalo, hyena, crocodiles, etc. I don’t want to give the movie up but the documentarian follow this mama and her three lions cubs. [SPOILER ALERT] One of the cubs gets eaten by a crocodile and the other gets trampled by buffalo while mama is out looking for food. She is still alive but she has a broken back and has to walk on her front legs with her back legs dragging behind her, useless. You can see the mama lion struggle with the big decision about what to do with this injured baby. She looks out the savannah and ponders for a few minutes. Ultimately, she knows that she cannot save a baby with a broken back, so she walks off and leaves that baby cub by herself to die.
I cried. It is every moms worst nightmare. I couldn’t fall asleep because I couldn’t get that baby cub crying for her mama out of my head. I literally sat in bed for two hours trying to forget about the painful decision that the mama lion had to make. Finally I took a Tylenol PM.
At midnight, I was also thinking about how buffalo stick so closely together as a herd. If one buffalo is in danger, the entire huge herd comes to that its rescue. I felt like those buffalo may treat each other better than humans do. They have each other’s back at all costs. They work as a village to help each other out. They don’t have to worry about mortgages, 401K retirement plans or the stock exchange. They just work together to survive. It was inspirational.
I have a hard time with these wild animal movies focusing on survival. I always have. When I was in the dorms in San Luis Obispo, my good friend Nicola, who is from South Africa, used to subject all of us to these African wild animal movies. I would always excuse myself. She didn’t understand because it is just nature after all. But nature is cruel and violent at times.
Anyway, so I had a bad sleep and spent the first part of the day irritated at my children. You know, one of those days that you wish someone else was the mom to these children and you were traveling the world experiencing new cultures and foods. Or maybe that is just me. I was tired of cleaning up their hoarding messes that they leave all over the house — this is where they get bags and boxes and fill them with random shit from all corners of my house. The funny thing is that it was hard staying mad at them because they are so cute and sweet and they love me so unconditionally. They are not trying to drive me crazy, they are just acting their age and there are four of them, so I am always outnumbered and overwhelmed. I need some buffalo to come with their herd for support.
Then there was the bus incident, which occurred in the afternoon. According to Ava, she was reading her book on the bus when a fifth grade girl “took my book, LOST MY PAGE, and then gave my book to someone else.” Ava reacted by calling this girl rude, repeatedly. Whatever Ava feels or thinks comes immediately out of her mouth without ever getting the chance to be reviewed by her common sense or the potential emotional maturity that may be trapped inside her little body. Ava felt that she was standing up for herself, but perhaps she could’ve used better language in doing so. The girl who took her book was just being playful, but her playfulness was misconstrued by Ava who doesn’t always have the greatest sense of humor when the joke is on her. Chris and I had to use this incident as a teaching moment; how we talk to people and what she could’ve done differently next time.
The lion mama struggled to find food for her cubs and keep them alive in the dangerous African savannah. Human mamas have to worry about feeding their babies and keeping them protected from the bad people or freak accidents also. In addition, we have to guide, shape and mold our children to fit into society, be good people and hopefully be successful based on the ethics we have instilled in them. These traits are not always human instinct. This last part is the hardest I believe. But if our children break bones, human mamas can take them to the doctor to get fixed, rather than leaving them on the playground to die. So we humans have that going for us, which is nice.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.