I like to think I am one.
I like to think I have at least a bit of the spirit of my mother, Mama Rose, who once said to a former boyfriend of my sister’s who had pushed her around, “If you ever touch my daughter again, I’ll have you killed. And I know the people to do it.” (And she did. The old broad’s Italian, after all.)
I like to think that Disney developed “African Cats” based on my parenting skills.
If you don’t know about the movie, a production team followed a pride of lions in the Masaai Mara National Reserve for two years. The two main story lines are about Layla, an aging mother lion’s devotion to her daughter Mara, and Sita, a single mom cheetah and her three rambunctious sons.
I was at a preview of the film, sitting in between my 5-year old son and 6-year old daughter, my eyes filling with tears as Samuel L. Jackson began his narration:
“This is the story of a mother’s love… a story of devotion between a mama lion and her beloved—“
“Sshh! I’m watching the story of a mother’s love.”
“But I gotta go pee-pee.”
“Now?! You couldn’t have told me this three minutes ago?!”
“—although her aging body can barely keep up with the pride, she moves on for the sake of her precious cub—“
“I didn’t gotta go then. I gotta go now.”
“Oh, for the love of—! Okay, let’s go! Fast!”
I leave my daughter with our friends and drag the boy down the aisle so quickly he’s practically airborne, slowing down slightly as Sam celluloid-spanks me with:
“—but Mara waits patiently for her mother, willing to lose the safety of the pride for the sake of their bond—“
We semi-dash into the Women’s room and over to a stall.
“I need privacy, Mommy.”
I grit my teeth, knowing that I can yank ‘em down and whip it out a lot faster than he can. But for the sake of our bond, I let him go into the stall by himself. He carefully locks down the door and I hear him fussing with his pants. I curse myself for the handsome snap-trousers rather than the saggy sweats with the elastic waist.
And then, the endless stream. Endless. Like he ate a watermelon and drank a case of Mountain Dew for dinner.
“Mommy? I can’t get out.”
“I can’t get outta the door.”
“Just open it, honey.”
“It won’t open.”
I push on the stall door, but it won’t budge. My heart starts to beat faster, and in my head I hear Samuel L. Jackson cinematically-scold:
“—but the cub is safe because the mother lion certainly isn’t dumb enough to let such a young lion lock the stall door—“
“Honey, slide the thingy! The silver thingy, slide it!”
“It won’t slide.”
“—and even if she is dumb enough to let him lock the silver thingy, what mother lion wouldn’t crawl on the filthy bathroom floor to rescue her cub—“
“Honey, can you go under? Without putting your hands on the floor?”
“No! You do it!”
“—just because this is a public restroom on 42nd Street in Manhattan, the great melting pot of America, which means that every germ from every country on our planet will attach itself to our young cub’s paws, which he will subsequently lick before the mother lion can get him to the watering hole—“
I finally end up body-slamming the stall door repeatedly until the silver thingy rattles open, and there he stands, rubbing his nose with his public-toilet paws. I disinfect him at the sink anyway and rush back into the theater, only to hear Sammy croon:
"...what is stronger or more protective than a mother's love?"
Oh, Irony. You are like a silver thingy straight through my heart.