a lioness and her cub
I can’t quite remember where I heard this little tidbit of information (perhaps Planet Earth?), but I remember hearing a wildlife expert once say, if given the choice of fighting a lion or a lioness in the defense of their cub, he would choose to fight the male lion every time.
I thought this was pretty interesting since a male lion is one of the most powerful and terrifying animals God created; stronger and more intimidating than a lioness, for sure. However, one very important thing that the male lion lacks is this: an intense, protective maternal instinct.
This sentiment came home to us a few weeks back while Joe and I were out furniture shopping. We happened to be shopping at a clearance store that provided a cute little kid’s room for restless children to play while their parents shopped. We had never dropped Sam off in one of these rooms before, but as soon as he saw the table toys- he was out of our arms in no time!
Joe decided to watch Sam play while I sat on every couch in the store. About ten minutes later, I happened to be looking at a few pieces of furniture that were located pretty close to the playroom, so Joe was able to give his opinion and keep an eye on Sam at the same time.
While Joe was commenting on one of the couches, we heard a loud, painful cry come from the playroom (about ten feet away from us).
It was Sam.
We immediately ran into the room and picked him up to find a huge, red bump on his forehead and a slightly bloody carpet burn all the way down the left side of his face. Joe took Sam out of the room right away to see if he was okay. I, however, had to know what happened.
Knowing that accidents happen all the time, I politely asked the older kids (6-7 yrs. old) what had happened. Some captivating cartoon was on in the room, so you can imagine the wonderful attention and respect these kids gave me (Ahem).
Thankfully, there was another parent in the room who witnessed everything. His words made my blood boil…
“The kid sitting on the far right picked up your son and put him on the couch, but the other little boy (pointing to another child on the couch) didn’t want your son sitting by him, so he kicked him off and your son flipped backwards and landed on his head and shoulder. It was a really hard tumble.”
I seriously don’t think I’ve had that much estrogen flowing through my body since I was in labor. And just so you know, I’m not a fighter. When people run over my foot with their grocery cart, I apologize.
However, I didn’t flinch when confronting this little hellion boy. Much to my complete shock, this kid not only ignored me and continued watching cartoons, but he rolled his eyes at me when I began speaking to him.
Thoughts like, “I’ve lived a good life, jail won’t be so bad” began flooding my mind.
God help the 7 year-old who kicks my 14-month old off a couch because he didn’t want to be inconvenienced. Oh, and God help me not give this little snot the worst wedgie his bratty bottom has ever seen (I really didn’t want to go to jail, so a severe wedgie was my safest bet).
In 28 years, I can honestly say that I have never felt what I felt that day. If it had been an accident, that is one thing. Accidents happen. However, this wasn’t an accident. This was the first time in Sam’s life that he was bullied, belittled, “beaten up” if you will.
I asked Joe why he wasn’t more upset at this kid, his response: “I care more about making sure that Sam is okay than I do about setting that other kid straight.”
“Oh.” I said. “Yea, that’s nice, but I seriously want to set this kid straight… like hang-him-up-on-a-flagpole-by-his-underwear-kind-of-straight”.
I mean I always knew this day would come, but I didn’t think at 14-months? And by someone five times his size? Hot tears sat just below the surface for a good hour or so afterwards.
It was an abrupt reality check. I’m simply unable to protect Sam from all of the pain and evil in this world. And even if I could, I know it wouldn’t be best for him. This is incredibly humbling and doesn’t exactly fall into the ‘joys of motherhood’ category for me.
My little cub was back to his smiling self in no time and I can report that his mom eventually cooled off. However, for the rest of the day Joe referred to me as, “Mama Grizzly”- which confirms that between the two of us, we have watched way too many wildlife programs.