Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer posted today about the day she became a mom... and it got me thinking about all the times I've stood up and fought for my kids because they were just too helpless to do it themselves.
One time stands out in my head more vividly than the others.
At our local mall we have a play area. It's decorated in a sort of breakfast motif with squishy foam waffles and bright pineapple rings and cherries that kids can climb all over and jump around. On certain days of the week the play area can be very busy with twenty or thirty little monsters jumping around.
Goober was two years old and just really getting the hang of climbing and jumping and tumbling one Saturday afternoon so I thought it was a good idea to let him play on the waffles. I watched as he climbed to the top of a pineapple ring and positioned himself so he could jump off, landing on the squishy floor below. I marveled at his bravery and smiled every time he successfully landed and scrambled back up to jump again.
It was perhaps his fifth or sixth jump when a little girl unfortunately got in the way and Goober landed on top of her. Goober laughed and scrambled up, not really understanding that he may have hurt her. The little girl looked a little surprised lying there on the foam floor, but was unhurt. I got up to grab Goober and have him apologize to the little girl as she was being comforted by a woman who appeared to be her grandmother.
But before I could reach Goober a man had him by the shirt collar. I can only presume this man was the little girl's grandfather. He had leathery skin and a deep booming voice with a New England accent and he had my little boy's shirt collar as he yelled in his face.
"YOU HAD BETTER BE MORE CAREFUL, YOUNG MAN!!"
That was all he had a chance to say before I pulled my baby away. And a fire welled up inside of me that I didn't know I had. I held my son close to me and I found myself right in this man's angry face.
"He is only TWO YEARS OLD! Does it make you feel like a BIG MAN to yell at a TWO YEAR OLD?!?!"
I kept my language clean but I drilled that man right back down into a sitting position as I held my poor, crying, scared two year old. The man didn't say anything back to me as I grabbed Goober's shoes and my bag and left the play area, but I distinctly remember several other mother's smiling their approval as we left.
It's amazing to me how the protective mother bear persona can snap out of me at any time. I'm normally fairly laid back and calm and I realize that my children make mistakes and I don't defend their every move. However, should someone strike fear into my child's heart or physically lay their hands on him - I will strike back with a fury only a mother can muster.