Mama Bear: A Story

My friend Aimee posted several weeks ago about how you don’t mess with a mama bear when she feels her cub has been attacked in some way. It brought to mind one very mama bear moment in my life that I think makes for a good story.

It was, I believe, June 2007. I had quit working in October of 2006, quickly gotten pregnant by December, and by June, well, I was a whale. It was hot. I had 2 small children who needed to be outside.

this was taken in july 2007...

My friend Kelli was also pregnant with her third baby, and just coming off bedrest after a scare, and not able to get out much yet. We agreed to meet at the park and let our kids play together, and I chased down the renegade children. Mostly, Kelli and I were able to sit under an umbrella and chat.

There was a *slight* issue with a bee swarm (literally, I’ve never seen anything like it in my life), but no one got stung and we let the kids keep playing. Until my sweet little 4-year-old Luke ran up to me bawling and with a bloody lip. Assuming he’d just fallen and hurt himself, I pulled him onto my giant lap and snuggled him up, and then asked, as any mother would, “What happened?”

His response, “A kid punched me in the mouth,” brought one of the most visceral reactions I can ever remember having. Instantly, I needed to know who this kid was. And who his mom was. And I needed to have a talk with them. Unfortunately, Luke didn’t know which kid had done it; he’d been sliding down a slide, and some bigger kids were climbing up the slides, and I think one of the bigger kids just didn’t like that he had to move for a little kid. I was furious, but luckily, Luke’s lip wasn’t injured badly. We headed home after that, of course.

You’d think that was the only mama bear moment I’d have that day. But no, it gets better.

Later that afternoon, the boys were playing outside with some neighbor kids. The mom and I were friendly, despite the fact that she’d made some comments about public education in the past that were totally uncalled for (her kids went to a Christian school, and she was fully aware of our decision to use our excellent local public school when the time came).

my little guys in june 2007

Over the fence, I described the event at the park that morning when she noticed Luke’s busted lip, and what she said next left me speechless (which is hard to do) and thinking of appropriate comebacks for the past 4 years, since at the time, I said nothing (do you ever do that? Or is that just me?). She said, “Well, I probably shouldn’t say what I’m thinking.” And I said, “No, tell me, what?” to which she replied, “I was just thinking it was probably a public school kid.”

If I could have recorded what went through my head in that moment and played it back for you, you’d think much less of me.

I immediately called to my kids and told them it was time to come inside. In that moment, I felt the need to protect them from hatred to which they need not be exposed. Because really, how do you deal with someone who acts like that?

14 responses to “Mama Bear: A Story

  1. Ugh! That’s so awful Nicole! I can’t stand it when people say such mean and nasty things. Somehow in my life, I am just now finding my voice and learning how to say something in response that is not cruel but is at least a response. I wish I had found my voice earlier.

  2. Sheer ignorance.

  3. And arrogance.

  4. I NEVER have the right words at the time like that (the fence incident), and then I just seethe inside every time I think of it &/or tell someone about it! And the offending person never even knows he/she said something so hurtful or inappropriate. You’d think by my age I’d have the social skill of speaking up when I really should (& keep my mouth shut at other times)!

    If I knew about the playground incident, I’d completely forgotten–poor little Luke!

  5. Although mean to say, but maybe we will all be reading about her child on the front page of a paper.. not for something good!

    I read somewhere the other day.. can’t remember where but this is how it goes.. (not exact though)… People create drama. They come in and out of other’s lives, you never know when, and you never know what they will say. You will always wonder what you should have said or what you should have done but the best thing you did was show respect (even though many do not deserve it) by walking away, not saying a word and just letting it go.

    I think you did the best thing. You walked into the house and then went on with your life without her or her family in your life. If you are anything like me, had you said something, you would have felt worse because it is not in our nature to be mean or lash out.

    • Tina, I don’t know you, but I like your perspective and how you described it. To walk away and go on with your life without the offender or her family in it. For me, there are times when voicing it and speaking up for myself or my kid is important, if nothing else to my integrity. But to be able to walk away and forget about it, that gives freedom too. Now if I can just discern which approach to use when…

  6. NOT cool! Who thinks like that (besides the crazy neighbor)?

  7. Why bother paying for Christian Academy if you’re going to teach your children to be judgmental and stereotype? Seems like a waste of tuition. I hope the fancy school puts an emphasis on Jesus’ unconditional love and compassion.

    As for Momma Bear Moments…

    God be with the person who messes with my baby.

  8. Nicole, that’s a couple good momma bear moments. And that’s the way to link up. Thanks for the call out.

  9. SO remember this story! I’ve found, though, that with age I am more vocal. Do you find this too?

  10. that is one of the most ridiculous things i’ve ever heard.

  11. I had forgotten about that day at the park. Don’t mess with Mama Bear – especially when she is PREGNANT! Yikes! And the conversation at the fence? Good grief…Well done, Mama! 🙂

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