One of my most vivid memories of my mother is the day I first saw her momma bear instincts come out... protecting me, her cub.
Ya see, growing up I had this lovely medical situation that long-story-short made it very difficult to make it to the bathroom in time from the age of two until 15.
I learned to adapt in my latter years, but there were many a playground days where I would go inside and need a change of clothing.
I seriously associate my closeness with God in those early years with the fact that I was constantly praying.
"Please Lord, not now"
"Lord, please just help me make it to the bathroom, just this once"
"Heavenly Father, PLEASE"
"Lord, I really want to go to the sleepover, but you have GOT to promise me it isn't going to happen there"
Nothing puts a target on your back any faster than a soggy sleeping bag... just sayin'
Never mind that the condition meant countless stays in the hospital (and lots of needles-- ok the needles bothered me), extremely high fevers, many painful kidney infections and tons of medications that have caused irreversible stains on my teeth...
I was fine as long as Sally Sue didn't notice the wet spot on my pants at recess.
This is where mom comes in.
I honestly don't remember the specifics of the teasing that day, but I remember seeing a fire in my mama's eyes that I will never forget.
All of us kids were playing in the church yard after VBS and Sally Sue had discovered that once again, I was having problems and had her fun with it.
My mother must have witnessed it because the next thing I remember-- clear as day-- is standing by my mom as she took Sally Sue down a notch right in front of everyone in our church foyer.
I was taken aback.
My mom was angry. She knew I couldn't help it. And, she knew she couldn't always protect me from the Sally Sues. But she had Sally Sue at that moment... and Sally Sue was sorry... at least until next time.
As a child and later a teenager that has felt the sting of the less than kind, this is perhaps one of my biggest fears as a parent.
How will I react if and when Sally Sue comes a knockin' on Miss Add's door?
My experiences with the harsher side of life have shaped me into who I am. In some ways, I am grateful for them. In other ways, many have haunted me.
They have given me the courage to be the voice and advocate for things I believe in. But damaged my ability to fully trust.
But regardless of the rationale of "letting kids be kids" and "toughening up", I am not sure that is going to cut it when it is my kid or truth be told--Will I even be rational about it?
How do you handle these situations?