It’s the 1st of a new month, and my family grew up with the superstition that the first words out of your mouth should be “rabbit, rabbit.” I think, it was so you’d have good luck for the rest of the month. I still do this. The first thing I did when I woke up I said the magic words: “rabbit, rabbit.” I had no idea of how this all got started, or if anyone but my family also engaged in this odd superstition.
So I googled it.
Here is what the always credible Wikipedia had to offer:
“The exact origin of the superstition is unknown, though it was recorded in Notes and Queries as being said by children in 1909:
‘My two daughters are in the habit of saying ‘Rabbits!’ on the first day of each month. The word must be spoken aloud, and be the first word said in the month. It brings luck for that month. Other children, I find, use the same formula.’
In response to this note another contributor said that his daughter believed that the outcome would be a present, and that the word must be spoken up the chimney to be most effective; another pointed out that the word rabbit was often used in expletives, and suggested that the superstition may be a survival of the ancient belief in swearing as a means of avoiding evil. People continue to express curiosity about the origins of this superstition and draw upon it for inspiration in making calendars suggestive of the Labors of the Months, thus linking the rabbit rabbit superstition to seasonal fertility.
It appeared in a work of fiction in 1922:
‘Why’ the man in the brown hat laughed at him, ‘thought everybody knew ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.’ If you say ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit’—three times, just like that—first thing in the morning on the first of the month, even before you say your prayers, you’ll get a present before the end of the month.’
Chapter 1 of the Trixie Belden story The Mystery of the Emeralds (1962) is titled “Rabbit! Rabbit!” and discusses the tradition:
Trixie Belden awoke slowly, with the sound of a summer rain beating against her window. She half-opened her eyes, stretched her arms above her head, and then, catching sight of a large sign tied to the foot of her bed, yelled out, “Rabbit! Rabbit!” She bounced out of bed and ran out of her room and down the hall. ‘I’ve finally done it!’ she cried […] ‘Well, ever since I was Bobby’s age I’ve been trying to remember to say ‘Rabbit! Rabbit!’ and make a wish just before going to sleep on the last night of the month. If you say it again in the morning, before you’ve said another word, your wish comes true.’ Trixie laughed.”
So there you have it, the probable origins of “Rabbit, Rabbit.”
This got me thinking about superstitions in general. The thing about superstitions, is we all have them, even if we say we don’t. Even just the fleeting feeling of something ominous at the bottom of the basement stairs. Or tossing a penny in a wishing fountain. Or playing the lottery.
We all want to become children again, and find that one, little glimmer of hope, that maybe, just maybe, there’s something to it, and when given the opportunity why take a chance of missing out on something great?
I think I still haven’t given up a lot of my “childish” thinking. And because of that, it’s gotten me though a lot of my treatment. Daydreaming during radiation treatment about becoming a super hero. Imagining my infusion bag being filled with glitter, and thinking of ways I could decorate them. (Side note: I have been given strict orders to NOT put glitter in or on my IV bags.)
Children have a way of simplifying things. They don’t require long detailed lectures filled with information, they just want an answer. It’s only by growing up, that forces us to seek out more details. Demand “real” answers. Growing up just complicates things.
When I had some bloodwork come back a little wonkey, the doctor called and asked me to come in a talk about it. I declined as I had other things to do. I asked her to give me the Cliff Notes version of the news. She sighed, and told me (in a nutshell) to get more/better rest. (Side note: It’s ALWAYS get more rest/ get more water.) (Another side note: I find myself generally comforting or consoling the doctors/nurses that “everything is going to work out as it should.”)
Although I am childlike in my thinking, I don’t need to see my doctors and nurses face-to-face. I don’t need them to hold my hand and have them tell me “it’s going to be okay.” I already know that. And I have incredible support. All of you out there, reading this, following my Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. My husband, my family, my friends. I could NEVER have dreamed I had this much support.
Don’t get me wrong, I love how passionate and caring my treatment team is! I have never in my life felt so well treated and well managed. And with Dennis having his own chronic illness, trust me, to say I appreciate MD Anderson and every staff member in there, is an understatement. In my eyes, MDA is magic.
And cancer has really brought out the best in me. It’s as if the universe grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me (the way you are NOT supposed to shake a baby), and said “YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE ALONE. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO EVERYTHING BY YOURSELF. NOW SIT DOWN OR I WILL PUT YOU DOWN.”
I’ll be honest, I had been very distant and disconnected from people. Or connected in a really contrite way. More voyeurism then connection. I had my nose to the grindstone and never looked up to see what or who was around me.
Dennis and I struggled for a lot of years. We lived paycheck to paycheck. And sometimes, couldn’t make it to the next paycheck. My family was a HUGE support to us financially, and for that I cannot thank them enough. But we did not discuss our issues with friends or reach out for support from, really anyone. And I definitely did not discuss how mentally drained I was.
But during that time, I didn’t feel I had earned the luxury of friends or connections. I was ashamed that we didn’t seem as put together as my friends were. So rather than answer questions about how things were going, or if we could make plans, we just kinda disconnected and became unavailable. We did hang out with each other, and even though times were tough we had and relied on each other. It wasn’t totally health, but we still had a lot of fun.
A few months before I got sick, everything seemed to be working out. We had almost all our debt paid off. We both got great jobs, and we seemed to be moving forward. But, you know the story.
So what have both of these hardships taught me. I’ve learned that disconnecting is the WORST thing you can do for your mind and your soul. I’ve learned that pride is not something to hang onto. Facebook is not a place to try and find a measuring stick for your own life. And it’s okay to believe in something bigger then yourself and take the risk of asking for help. Keep things simple, childlike. Don’t think like a grown-up and complicate how to ask for help. Just take a deep breath, and say, “I need some help.”
With that being said, I would like to, unabashedly, ask for your help, again. I’m going to be adding a post in a few days (or maybe tomorrow, depends if I’ve gotten enough rest/ enough water) regarding a fundraising opportunity for which I volunteered. I am very excited about this opportunity to make an intentional effort to connect with other young people with cancer. So here’s a link to our fundraising page (Dennis is doing it too, and we’re not like that couple that shares a Facebook account, it’s just easier to have everyone donate to one place) if you want a head start. There is a link on the page that will take you to the organization’s homepage so you can learn all about Stupid Cancer and how they help out with specific issues related to young people having cancer (i.e. student loans and treatment, fertility treatment, how to find/maintain a job during and after treatment.)
Thank you everyone, for traveling a little further into wonderland.