There are certain feelings or behaviors that you always hear about, but never really appreciate until you experience them yourself. Until you’re there, you think of them as cliches…feeling the rush of potential when you graduate college, the joy and overall shine of your wedding day, the Earth-shattering love when you see your child for the first time.
Lately for me, it’s been the Mama Bear instinct to protect children. My children, my friends’ children, children walking past me on the street. Sure, I’ve felt protective since Amelia was born four years ago (Hell, I’ve always wanted to help children in need… I always figured that I’d be the one to wrap a blanket around a child after a tornado or a flood. ) . But when Amelia was a baby, my feeling was more of stopping a speeding bullet or laying my life down for her. Absolutely intense, but not quite “Mama Bear”.
Do you know what mama bears have to protect their young? Claws. And teeth. And they will tear anything apart that threatens their family unit. And suddenly, now that Amelia is 4 and starting to take her first steps out into the world alone, I can suddenly appreciate the evil that threatens the world. Suddenly I realize how depraved some people are. I hear a story of a missing girl or a kiddie porn ring and I see the victims as people that could be my daughter’s friends….or they could be my daughter.
I was watching Oprah today and she was interviewing David Smith, ex-husband of Susan Smith (I’m not even going to give her a description. You know who she is. If not, click on the link.). I was 16 when the story broke and I remember watching the news with my mom. When the story ended, I overheard my mom, who rarely said a mean or violent thing about anything, say with ice in her voice “That bitch needs to fry”. At the time, it was a little jarring. A little surprising that it would bring out such emotion.
Now I get it.
As mother, I have such a visceral reaction to any violence toward children. It pains me. It gives me a sick pit in my stomach. I CAN NOT listen to it. I would find somebody to the death if it meant my children would be safe.
It makes me feel like a superhero because I know that I would do it. It makes me feel dangerous and strong.
“Don’t be afraid of her….unless she’s protecting her children.”