Marcia’s Law – How Do You Spell Love?
Piglet: Pooh, how do you spell love?
Pooh: You don’t spell it, you feel it.
-Winnie the Pooh
by: Marcia Prichason
I was at the Doctor’s office absently thumbing through the pages of a well worn women’s magazine; and I was so bored. But then, a woman arrived toting her baby, and my eyes lit up. Baby, apparently having just awakened from a nap, was wide eyed and curious; arms flailing, feet dancing, and a big wide grin plastered across her face that seemed to shout, “Hey, I’m so cute!” And she was.
I couldn’t take my eyes off that endearing little person. She cooed, made adorable faces, and drooled. I was enchanted. Her mother responded to her with smiles and baby talk; she loved her so much I could “feel” it. I remember what that was like. A mother’s love is like a Mama Bear; protective, encircling, all encompassing, and this mother embraced all those qualities.
Babies are wonderful. They are innocent and perfect. Their very existence seems to forecast a bright future. They make people smile. They can’t help it; babies bring out the best in people.
But babies also mean responsibility and devotion. It is easy to see how, because of their endless needs, their fragility, and their total dependence, mothers protect them with a ferocity that is much like a mother bear protecting her cubs. I wonder, then, how some mothers (and fathers too) can fall out of love with their babies when they come out as LGBTQ. How do you stop being “Mama Bear?”
How do you not remember what carrying an unborn child felt like? How do you stop recalling, with fondness, those long sleepless nights walking the floors, holding, carrying, feeding, and caring for your child?
How do you stop feeling the love?
Did it happen at a little league baseball game, a band concert, or over a broken arm? Or, did it occur when peanut butter was the only meal on the menu, or when a tea party meant make believe cups, saucers, and spoons. Did you stop feeling the love when your child lost his first tooth or ran across the street without holding your hand? When does Mama Bear stop thinking her baby, her child, her adolescent, her teenager, her adult child is just about the best person who ever hit the planet earth?
I know from my experience that from the moment I held my son in my arms, counted his fingers and toes, kissed his head, and stroked his cheek, that the love I felt was a bond that could never be broken.
And that didn’t change when he took his first steps, spoke his first words, wrote his name, read a chapter book, and rode a bike. It didn’t change either when he began separating himself from me; going to friends for sleepovers, having his own interests, and liking his own flavors of ice cream.
Why would it? I didn’t bring him into this world to be a carbon copy of anyone. I brought him up to be independent, thoughtful, and his own person.
But, I tried to be there when he needed me. I think I suffered through his 5th grade teacher as much as he did. I brought his lunch to Junior High so many times I was told I couldn’t anymore, but I still did. I discussed his attitude and his grades with his high school teachers. I visited college campuses. I protected him as much as I could through those years, and my love, although it has changed, has never diminished.
And when he and his boyfriend held hands walking down Michigan Avenue, I dared anyone to say something. When they kissed at Whole Foods, I stood guard over them. When he encounters ugliness, as he must, I feel it keenly. I AM a Mama Bear!
And, I am sorry that too many parents are not. Approximately 40% of America’s homeless youth are LGBTQ. Where are those Mama Bears now when their children need them?
So, I say to you, those of you whose parents have forgotten, or don’t want to recall, or who find you an embarrassment because of who you are, “you’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think” (Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh), and that THIS Mama Bear loves you with all her heart.
…And I’m just a mom who loves her son(s) and daughters…