There's a reason why women "bear" children.
We bear them for the rest of their lives.
I never imagined the instinctual protective nature that would seize me the moment my sons came into this world. I never imagined the fierce determination that would come over me when advocating for my child's benefit. I never realized that I had an intuition - a gut feeling - and that 95% of the time that I had that feeling, it was right.
It took me awhile to get comfortable in my thick coat of Momma Bear fur - I'm not sure that I'm quite there yet. But I'm filling it out now better than I ever have before.
Today, several years of struggle and hard work and angst and concern and bewilderment and helplessness and hopefulness was finally worth it. Oh, it didn't alleviate it. But today, I got people to listen. And make a plan. To help my child. Because at first I thought he needed it. Then I knew he needed it. And I was the only one who was going to make it happen.
Today, more than two years of emails and phone calls and conferences and research and trial and error all came together as if to say, "We get it now. Thanks for bringing that to our attention."
And the situation itself aside, I sit back, mentally and physically exhausted to the bone and think, "Should it really be this hard?" and "Why didn't I just give up?"
Then I remember the Momma Bear. According to National Geographic, "Mother bears are notoriously protective of their young, and can be dangerous to humans, particularly if surprised or if another person gets between the mother and her cub." For the past few years, I've felt as if I have to protect my young. Not to shelter them from life, disappointment, hardship and pain, but to advocate for them - to champion for them - to make sure that they get what they need - not what they WANT - but what they NEED to succeed. And until my son is a father, he will never know the depths to which he will go to do the same thing for his child.
Yesterday, someone gave my son a speech that made me burst into tears. It was essentially what I now refer to as the "Momma Bear" speech. I can't remember exactly what he said, but in essence he told my son, "You think your mom's an idiot. You think she doesn't know you. You think she's hard on you. That she doesn't like you. She yells at you. She makes rules you don't want to follow. She disciplines you. She makes you do your homework. What you DON'T know is that she can't sleep at night worrying about you. What you DON'T know is that she's desperate to help you when you can't help yourself. What you DON'T know is that when you're asleep, she comes into your room and gazes at you lying in your bed and THANKS GOD for you."
This is a tough world that our kids are growing up in, full of pressures and technology and temptations and a whole lot of adults with not a lot of time to do what they were put on this earth to do - raise their children. Sometimes it makes it harder for the Momma Bears in the world to do their job - protect their young and see to it that they grow up to become big, healthy bears themselves. But I beg of you all - never stop trying for your kids. Never stop listening to them. Or advocating for them. Or fighting for what you think is right and necessary.
Like I tell my son, "No matter what - at the end of the day, I'm your biggest fan."
And I will always be his Momma Bear.