Jeffrey's encounter with a runaway rabbit leads me to reminisce.
|Dedicated to my son, Jeff…
Of Rabbits, Racing and Motherhood
By Donna Lowich
“Holy Coward! Did you see that, Mommy?”
I turned to see what my three-year-old son, Jeffrey, was looking at as he played in the large backyard of our new house. Woods surrounded the yard, so we often saw cats, dogs and deer making cameo appearances. Jeffrey always responded with shouts of glee and excitement.
Every once in a while, we would see a large domestic rabbit leave the safety of the woods to hop into the yard, the lure of the newly-mown grass too much for him to turn down. This time, however, it was a little different. Jeffrey was halfway across the yard, and leaning over. He took a step back, revealing the reason for his excitement.
The rabbit hopped into our yard, letting Jeffrey walk slowly up to him. He stood still and allowed Jeff to pet him! Stories circulated in the neighborhood about the rabbit, how it had escaped from our neighbor’s hutch, how it had survived in the woods, and stayed away from all people. This was indeed a rare sight!
As I walked over to get a closer look, the rabbit took an instant dislike to me and dashed back into the woods. The rabbit’s rapid departure didn’t faze Jeffrey in the least. His large chocolate-brown eyes sparkled with excitement, as he talked non-stop of his new friend, the rabbit.
With the rabbit now in the woods, Jeffrey turned to one of his favorite activities: racing. He ran and collected his basketball, tennis ball, and golf ball, lined them on the edge of the driveway that went slightly downhill, towards the backyard. Pushing the balls slightly to give them an all-important headstart, the race began. Jeff returned to me with an excited grin and a flushed face, narrating every maneuver and ending with the order in which he and all the “racers” finished. Anxious to do it again, but vowing to beat his previous “record“, he ran to collect the balls all the while yelling, “Bye, Mom! Be back in a jippy !”
As I watched and listened, I couldn’t help but be thankful again for this small yet wondrous gift standing before me. It was difficult to think that I almost didn’t have the chance to ever watch this wondrous source of the constant activity in front of me.
I thought back to nearly two years before Jeffrey was born, when I was diagnosed with a large fibroid tumor. The doctor told me there was no choice but to perform a hysterectomy. "No!" I protested at the time. "There has to be another answer for me." Being very afraid as well as very stubborn, was all that kept me from that surgeon's knife.
I was only in my late twenties at the time, so I needed to keep searching and after a flurry of visits to various doctors, I finally found a doctor who was willing to help me through the delicate surgery..
Eighteen months later, on August 13, 1981 my precious son was born. My first clear memory of him was in the incubator, not crying, but instead vigorously swinging his arms and legs around, windmill fashion. I looked with awe and love and tears at this wonderful little person who had won my heart long before he ever made an appearance on this good Earth.
Holding him in my arms for the first time, I gazed down at his beautiful face, his tiny hands and feet, and all of my emotions burst forth: “Jeffrey I love you with all of my heart! I am in awe of the miracle that is you.”
My little miracle brought laughter into our house. Literally, by the time he was four months old, Jeffrey developed his own hearty laugh, sounding very much like a squeaky gate.
By age sixteen months, Jeffrey possessed a remarkable sense of humor. At the same time, he decided that he liked M&M candies, especially the green ones. On Christmas Day 1982, he had several M&Ms in his hand.
“You want one?”
“Thank you,” I said, as I took one from his proffered hand. And then, “Would you want to hold it for me?”
He nodded his head vigorously.
A few minutes later, although I suspected that my chance to eat it had already come and gone, I said, “Jeffrey, can I have my M&M?”
He smiled, “You want M&M? Here’s M&M!” At the same time, he pulled up his shirt and pointed at his tummy.
As birthdays came and went, we did all the usual parties and special outings. We went through phases for gift buying: baseball, hockey, basketball, video games, and his true passion, horse racing.
But as I think back to the birthdays, the parties and the gifts, I am convinced he has given us far more than we could ever give him. He is our gift, and for that I am thankful beyond words.