Lioness and cubs / Felis leo

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I am generally a pretty mild mannered person. I don’t much like confrontation so I do my best to avoid it. However sometimes, out of the blue, you get the hairs on the back on your neck to stand up and that weird feeling rising from the pit of your stomach. Your ire is raised.

This in particular happens when one of my kids gets hurt or disappointed. As a parent and particularly, a mom I don’t think that there is anything worse than seeing disappointment or pain register on one of your kids’ faces. There is some primordial response that rises from the depth of a mother’s very being when that happens. The desire to protect, to fix it, to make it all right and to see that those that caused the hurt or disappointment are punished. It’s strange, because you cannot understand why you are feeling this incredible fierceness, this overwhelming protectiveness. It can turn a mild mannered person into a bit of a crazy woman. Sometimes you know the person or persons who did it and sometimes you don’t — it’s a total stranger. In either event, I think other mothers would agree with me when I say that whoever they are, you can feel like you want to hurt them because they hurt your baby — even if your baby is a teenager and whatever happened was obviously a misunderstanding. Rational thought freezes somewhere in your brain when the mama lioness in you lifts her head to protect her cubs.  It’s odd that it happens automatically, without any warning or control.

Amazing how humans really don’t vary much from animals in some contexts. The desire to protect, to shield and to fix it are there in all of us — human or beast.

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