I love Sundays at our house. We declare it family day, we go to church and recharge our spiritual batteries, we come home, and have lunch, and then Max who is exhausted from running laps around the chapel and eating all the other kids snacks zonks out for a good two to three hour nap. That's when Shane and I calmly discuss who got the Sunday nap last week and therefore should get to hang out with Mason so the other partner can have a nap. Sunday naps are a most coveted item in the Notes household, and although we try to be civil this conversation usually ends with a wrestling match to see who can get to the bed first. Mason thinks its hilarious and knows that really he's the winner, because he doesn't have to take a nap at all.
So last weekend I lost, so while Shane took a nap Mason and I picked a movie from our extensive Disney collection. This Sunday's pick: Dumbo. Mason had never seen it before and I thought how lovely and wholesome, I forgot how sensitive my little one is... All was fine and good until the kids started making fun of Dumbo's ears. "Why are they doing that Mommy?" and then the horror when they pulled Dumbo away from his mom. My son was in anguish, "what are they doing to his mom?" and then almost pleading, "He needs his mommy!" I could see the therapy bills piling up and I asked Mason if he wanted to turn it off. "No" he said unable to tear his eyes away from the screen, "just stay here and watch it with me." "Ok, bud, I promise it will turn out ok." I put my arm around him and he snuggled in closer. So we watched together and I reassured Mason over and over again that it would all work out and I thought back to my own childhood and tried to remember how I perceived Dumbo's predicament when I saw it for the first time. Perhaps it was because I was so busy reminiscing about my own childhood that I was so unprepared for what happened next. The little mouse takes Dumbo to see his mother and from where she is chained to the wall she can't even see him she can only reach her trunk out, catch up her perfect little baby, and rock him, and yes I know you can all hear it too... "Baby mine don't you cry..." And all of a sudden I am BAWLING! Seriously an uncontainable blubberfest, and I realize that this is the first time I have seen Dumbo through a mother's eyes. This is something I was completely unprepared for, the intense empathy I can feel for Mrs. Jumbo. I was a rock before I had kids, I even remember pointing a mocking finger at my own mother who cried during Hallmark commercials. Now a cartoon elephant makes me cry. Now you can blame the increased emotionality on hormones, or age, or whatever you want, but I think that I know the truth, its a deep dark secret that no one tells you before you have kids. Its not that they don't want you to know, its not that they don't want to explain it to you, its just that there are no words that can truly describe the intensity of feeling so you wouldn't believe them anyway. I realized the truth of the secret the first time I held my tiny one his little lungs unable to work on their own, knowing that I would do anything to make him better, to take away the hurt, and also knowing that I couldn't. I couldn't fix it or make it go away, I could just hold him and rock and sing and comfort. That's when I learned the secret: that mother's are truly the strongest creatures on Earth, and also the most vulnerable because mother's have the most to lose, because holding my babies, and sheltering them from (albeit Disney induced) fear I know that I have in my arms the greatest gift to humankind, my child. Many writers have tried to describe love, but my feeling for my children is more intense, and more powerful, its not emotional, its biological, its hardwired into my soul. And if I ever were to lose...well let's not go there, its too awful, but that my friends is why Dumbo makes me cry. So the next time that sappy "Baby Mine" song comes on the old lady radio station, and your mom tears up, don't laugh or point, because now you know that you made her that way, because loving you has made her feel more deeply than any human should have to, and because although you may be grown she can still see in her mind the time when you resembled that little elephant and she lovingly rocked and sang and comforted.
At our house that time is present, and maybe that's another reason I have such tender feelings for that little Dumbo...
I think there's a bit of a resemblance.
3 weeks ago