Mama Bunny started her own blog shortly after I did. This entire month she’s been writing a daily feature known simply as PGW, standing for “Peace and Goodwill,” focusing on all of the good, heartwarming things that are happening in the world right now, hiding in the shadows of the really shitty stuff that seems to be clouding everyone’s minds.
No, really, I swear that despite our completely opposite outlooks on life, she is my biological mother. We look too much alike for it to be any other way. (I have better boobs.)
I read every article she posts, hiding in my bedroom, away from everyone else so that nobody can see me tearing up and getting all emotional over it. Witnessing a genuine Overlord Bunny Display of Emotion is a face-punching offense. I am a badass. I have a cold, black heart. I am a high-functioning sociopath like Sherlock Holmes, my ultimate idol since childhood.
So yesterday I was extremely disheartened to read installment 28 of her PGW series, where my mother revealed that after a particularly rough Christmas season and her firsthand experiences with some displays of extreme douchebaggery, she could not find a single spark of light to write about, which she then went on to blame herself for.
Understand that my mother is basically a Disney Princess with even less spice and ten times the sugar. She makes Snow White look like Michael Vick. She cries sometimes while playing World of Warcraft if one character is being too mean to another. Randomly killing critters in-game leads her to make this godawful squealing noise over her headset and beg the offender to stop.
My mother is a real-world version of Mylune, come to think of it.
Seeing Mother Mary Sunshine so completely defeated was one of the scariest moments of my life, and that includes the time I accidentally wandered into the midst of a white-power rally. But it got me to thinking — no, get back to your chair, you don’t have to start running for higher ground yet — in twenty-eight separate articles, she has never even once acknowledged her own contributions to the peace and goodwill of others. I think that this is a travesty that should be remedied immediately. Without further adieu, I bring you my own PGW chapter, which I have numbered 28.5 (I wanted it to be 9 3/4 but numerically that makes no sense) and dedicated entirely to my mother.
There’s a scene in the film Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain where the titular character, having made it her sole purpose in life to do good deeds every chance she gets, suddenly realizes that she’s neglected to take care of herself, as well, and imagines her life as that of a martyr who dies tragically young from the sheer exhaustion of doing all of these good works. I can’t watch it without thinking of my mother. She is a completely idealistic person who still believes in faeries and happy endings, making her a shining beacon of light in a world that grows increasingly cynical by the day. She has sacrificed so much for others from day one. Throughout my entire childhood she stayed in an abusive, unhappy marriage simply because she was afraid of the effect that a divorce would have on me. She sheltered me from so many of the worst bits from my biological father at her own expense, and yet she never complained, never cried in front of me, always smiled and carried on.
I was constantly the victim of bullying. She didn’t tell me to just ignore it and move on. No, she marched her ass down to the school and demanded that something be done about it, whether the jerk was another student or a teacher who should have retired twenty years ago. She fought for me tooth and nail, even when I wasn’t entirely in the clear, in which case she’d make damn sure once we got home that I’d never put myself in that situation again.
She taught me charity and love from a very young age. My old toys were never simply thrown out; I insisted that they be donated to either the children’s hospital or the less fortunate kids in our hometown, all because she took the time to show me how the smallest things can make the biggest differences in someone’s life. Rather than parking me in front of the television set, she taught me everything I could ever hope to know about animals, gardens, and crafting. She took me to museums and orchestras, Broadway musicals and ballets. If there was an event at my school, no matter how small it was, she was always there to cheer me on. She volunteered for every school fieldtrip, kissed every skinned knee, took every ounce of abuse Asshole Teenager Bunny hurled at her and never stopped loving me despite the fact that if I had a time machine I would go back to my sixteen-year-old self and probably beat the everliving shit out of her until she started acting like a human being again.
I was a troubled kid. There’s no way to sugarcoat that. Yet she still defended me, still tried to help in any way she could. She found ways to afford therapists and medication for me. I used to get mad at her for constantly saying “there’s nothing wrong with you” whenever I’d say I was too broken or couldn’t do something. Years later I finally understood that she wasn’t doubting me, she was pushing me to keep going because she believed that I was capable of anything, regardless of how much of a jerk my brain was. And to top it all off, she trusted me. I didn’t have a curfew. She didn’t phone me incessantly when I was out with my friends. On my way out the door she’d simply look at me and say “Don’t screw up,” and you know something? I never did. It was purely out of respect for her and the way that she always gave me the benefit of the doubt.
All of this from a woman who, before getting pregnant, never wanted kids. She told me many years later that the minute she found out she was going to have a baby, she decided that this whole “mom” thing wasn’t such a bad deal after all, and stuck by that even when bringing me into this world very nearly killed her.
She is a cancer survivor. She has fought off her own demons and gone from losing everything to building it all back up. She has fought off my demons, too, and built me back up when I had nothing. She supported me through every stupid and wrong decision that I made in my life, never saying “I told you so,” only helping me brush myself off and telling me to try again.
For her entire life, she’s rescued strays and injured wildlife. Other than fish and small rodent-type pets (with the exception of our ferret who was also a rescue), I never had an animal that came from a pet store. She instilled that love of animals into me, as well. These days she extolls the virtues of The Animal Rescue Site to anyone who will listen and orders most of her gifts from their website because the money goes right back to the animals and to various free trade organizations. She’s a vegetarian because she can’t stand the idea of hurting a living thing for food. I, however, make up for this by eating all of the hamburgers she turns down because while animals are very cute and fluffy, they’re also delicious.
But the real crowning achievement is the Christmas gift she sent me this year.
She worked on it for weeks, probably months. It’s a homemade scrapbook, hard-bound with a purple (my favorite color) cover and ribbon ties. I never wanted to keep any of my childhood photos because my biological father was in so many of them and tainted the memories of those otherwise happy times. She cut him out of them so that I would be able to remember only the good. In her own words:
I did that book because it occurred to me that you don’t have pics of your growing up because I have them all. You seem to forget that you are awesome and you had more good in your childhood than bad. Despite everything, you smiled a lot. We laughed a lot. Even with the jackass. That book is so you can remember the good things that memories of the bad seem to overshadow.
With the book was a short story she had written.
This is the story of [Overlord Bunny].
Even when she was small, her imagination was enormous. She was a ballerina, a musician, and a gardener, among other things, by the time she was only 2 years old.
Her faithful companion, Oliver Doggie, has always been by her side to encourage her to pursue her dreams. She was a dreamer right from the start.
She loved to bake and cook, and served lovely tea parties.
There were birthdays with friends and family. She was born on her grandfather’s birthday. He said she was the best gift he ever got.
There were Christmases and Hanukkahs decked with brightly lighted trees and sparkly things, and lots of presents, and fancy pyjamas and sweaters.
There were friends and special teachers in school.
There were always pets; lots of pets.
There were family, and friends like family.
She’s had some pretty interesting friends from all over the world.
She met some pretty cool famous people, too.
And went to some interesting places. She went to Disney World a lot.
[Overlord Bunny] did some really neat stuff, and got many awards.
She didn’t like to swim much until she became a mermaid.
[Overlord Bunny] has had many styles and tried many things.
Overall, she’s had an unusual and sometimes downright wondrous life.
But there’s still lots more to come!
I’ve been crying for three hours now, just flipping through the pages of the book and re-reading the story that goes with it. There are photos I didn’t even know existed, including one of a friend of mine who passed away a few years ago. There are photos of her and I together. Photos she secretly took of me during my proudest moments. Photos of me wearing stripey tights and faerie wings because rather than yelling at me to dress like a normal kid, she always admired how unique my style was and, in fact, stole bits and pieces of it here and there (but that’s okay, because like half of my current wardrobe I ganked from her).
It’s the best gift I ever received, and marks one of those few moments I’ve had in my life that has changed my outlook on absolutely everything.
There are very few people on this earth, short of Princess Diana and Mother Theresa, who have done so much to make other people’s lives better, regardless of the personal price to do so. Mom, if you’re looking for that peace and goodwill, all you have to do is look in a mirror, and then write yourself in for numbers 29 through 2467896724924.