Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Mom Reflex

I just finished reading What is the What for book club. Not an easy, fun summer read by any means, but I'm very glad to have read it. In a nutshell, the book is the story of one of the Sudanese "Lost Boys" from his childhood days in a peaceful village to the civil war to living in several refugee camps before finally immigrating to the United States.

The book opened my eyes to the plight of refugees and asked many questions that have no easy answers. Before having Claire, I would still have been started, angry, and sad at the story, but now that I'm a mom, a new surge of emotions takes me by surprise.

And it's not just the book. Last weekend at my mom's farm, when I saw one of the barn cats heading to the house, carrying a very baby kitten by the scruff of the neck, my eyes teared up. Blackie, the ambitious mother cat, thought she would bring the kitten into the house. That's not such a far-fetched idea because Blackie is allowed on the porch, but only the porch, occasionally because my 7-year-old niece loves her. (Can I just say that I begged my mom for years to have a house cat? Apparently there's something called the Grandma Reflex as well). In Blackie's mind the porch is the perfect safe place, but much to her dismay, mom won't allow it. So I found myself shedding a tear because Blackie would have to find a different safe place for her baby.

Then there was the other night on the Keystone Trail. Sandy and I were enjoying a stroll with Claire (who, I must add, is now riding in the front of the stroller like a big girl!) when three upper elementary aged boys were coming towards us on their bikes. The youngest (who I would guess to be in 3rd or 4th grade) was slowly riding straight towards us. Sandy said he has an ornery "let's see who will be the first chicken" look in his eye. As he swerved a way at the last minute, I turned an yelled, "Hey, you need to be careful!"

He didn't seem at all sorry, so I added, "You don't own the trail, you know."

"Really?" the punk kid replied.

Not nice retorts formed in my mind and were on the verge of spilling out of my mouth when Sandy replied, "You need to be careful when there's a baby around." Much nicer than I would've been. If you know me, you know it's not like me to yell at young kids on the trail, so, again, the mom reflex seems to have struck.

And yes, I know, this is just the beginning...


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