I have just returned from a 10:30 a.m. theater presentation of Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny, Margaret Wise Brown's timeless children's books. I purchased my ticket weeks ago, and feared that I'd receive sideways glances when young parents saw a middle-aged woman sans children sitting next to them; thankfully my fears were unfounded. It was just 45 minutes long, but it was charming and magical. I'm sure most FMF readers have read the book countless times to the children in their lives, or perhaps there are some readers who have had it read to them.
As I sat in the darkened, beautifully restored vaudeville-era theater with the enthusiastic, appreciative, and very well behaved toddlers, my heart just soared and my face was wet with tears, but they were happy tears. I had discovered The Runaway Bunny not long after my reunion with my daughter, and I had sent her a copy for some occasion, perhaps Easter. Like just about everything at the time, I saw this simple tale as an allegory for our relationship. You know the story, don't you? A little bunny keeps saying he'll run away--become a fish in a trout stream, a rock on a mountain, a bird, a sailboat--and his mother always assures him that she will find him, wherever, whatever he is. It's a comforting, sweet story beloved by children since 1942.
Several years ago I had lent the book to my male colleague, an adult adoptee. He said when he read it he cried, because when he was young he had in fact packed a suitcase and planned to run away, and his [adoptive] mother wasn't all that concerned; I guess it was one of those "kids will be kids" moments. I never got the book back, and eventually purchased another copy. My daughter was planning a baby shower for a friend several years ago, and she had created a bunny-themed gift, complete with copies of Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny. Watching the production this morning, I was reminded that yes, there were some bright moments in our five-year-long on again/off again reunion, just as Lorraine mentioned in the Valentine's Day post. And I smiled to myself and thought maybe I wasn't such a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad birthmother after all.