When my oldest son was just a spindly, floppy-headed 6 week old infant, I decided to take him for a walk in the warm spring air. I buckled him into the umbrella stroller and he slouched to the right and we set off. I was enjoying the beautiful day and the chance to get out of the house after weeks of confinement. We were strolling briskly through the neighborhood when I heard a dog growl. I looked onto the porch of the house we were passing and saw a German Shepard, in an aggressive stance, teeth bared and growling. I had narrowly missed getting bitten by a Great Dane when I was 11 years old, and had been afraid of big dogs since then.
The German Shepard started down the steps of the porch toward us and something odd happened. As I stood there assessing the options, I could feel the strength of every mother dead and buried in the ground crossing the soles of my shoes and infusing into my feet, bubbling to my knees and rising up. When this wet force reached my heart, the fear there fizzled and melted leaving a sweet taste. I knew what I had to do. I walked toward the dog with arms outstretched. I was going to strangle it with my bare hands.
The dog must have read my mind, or smelled my intent, for it whimpered, put its tail between its legs and went back up on the porch.
I’m not always that strong, but the power of that moment has never completely left me.
I have made parenting mistakes along the way, had errors of judgement. But I am not lacking in passion to do the very best for my children that I can. I guess that will have to be enough.