My mother is like a force of nature when it comes to protecting her kids and, now, her grandkids. First of all, she is a beautiful redhead who commands your immediate attention when she enters a room. This is just merely with her presence. But when she speaks, especially in anger, people have no choice but to listen.
This used to make me nervous when I was just a shy little girl hiding behind her leg. But now I see that I was blessed with the Queen of all Mother Bears. I remember her marching into my junior high school to have it out with my cheerleading advisor who had reprimanded me for something that I no longer remember. What I will never forget is the feeling of great vindication that my mother believed in me and was willing to come to my rescue. The scene was not pretty. My mother is not one to people please and I am not sure if that advisor ever got a word in edgewise, but the issue, whatever it was, became a non-issue. I am sure that the woman did not ever want to see my mother again.
She recently went to a play with my sister and her fifteen-year-old daughter. My niece was whispering to her friend during the play and a man across the aisle from her kept turning around and glaring at her. My mother was watching the whole thing. Immediately after the play the man came back to say something to my niece, who was on the aisle closest to the man. My sister was next closest and my mother was furthest from the man. But, she saw him coming. Before the man could finish his first words to my niece, my mother threw her arm across my sister and niece (like she did in the car when we were little before we had to wear seat belts) and in her angry voice said, “Do not speak to her!” He tried to make his point and she said sternly again, “She is a child and you are a grown man. You should not speak to her.” He nervously walked away.
I’m not sure if she was always in the right, but the great thing about her is that she never cared a whit about what people might think, that they might not like her, or if they even thought she was crazy. It was more important for her to cover me and shield me with her great wings and allow me to hand over the problem to her.
I am not a force of nature like my mother. I tend to like to keep the waters calm and I am fabulous at making things comfortable. However, I have realized in the last few years that I am the only one who can be the Mother Bear for my kids (unless we take grandma along). I need to be willing to sacrifice looking like a nice person all the time and be willing to look a little crazy sometimes. Because ultimately, my children will be part of my life forever and everyone else along the way may not be. I think when we believe our children and trust them, it makes them want to be trustworthy. I think when we protect and fight for them, they learn they are more valuable to us than anyone else. This doesn’t mean we don’t teach them how stand up for themselves; it just means that there are some situations where the Queen of all Mother Bears needs to come out.