Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mother's Instinct

Usha writes this really heart wrenching post about a girl, who admitted that she was being abused by her uncle. Instead of providing her some help, her parents labeled her a liar and attention seeker. Not just that, they withdrew her from the school and took her back home – where I shudder to think what fate awaited her.

When I read the post, my greatest angst was against the girl’s mother. I felt as a mother, she should have understood. As a mother of a child, especially a girl child, one of her first duties was to protect the girl. Protect her from the dangers that lurked in the world and in her own house. And I’m not talking out of my hat, I talk from experience.

We were shopping for winter coats for the family last year. Hubby was in the males section, while I had sonny in his stroller with me in the females section. I moved to another aisle, sonny still in my line of sight. Then I heard a voice say “hello handsome. How are we doing today?” I don’t know what it was – but all the hair in my body just stood on end. I jumped into the aisle where a man was bent over sonny’s stroller.

He saw me and straightened, smile on his face. “hey mommy”, he said. “we’re just getting to be friends”. I made some small talk about how sonny was in the way and I was just moving him away. “no no” he said, sonny was not in any way. “Go on shop. I’ll keep an eye over him.” Pretty innocent, right? But I don’t know what it was, the alarm bells just rang non-stop in my head. I made some lame excuse about just looking around. Told him, hubby would need his help, if at all. After that, I just stayed in the center of the shop. He came and went, helping hubby and some other shoppers. At no point did I leave sonny out of hands reach, even for a moment.
As hubby cashed out, he made some small talk. Then he said, “its too sad, my son was just here, and he’s about as old as your son. They could have been friends”. I still could not shake off the feeling that there was something wrong about the guy. Told hubby about it who laughed at my weird irrational fear. “It has no base”, he said, “except your maternal instinct”.

Yes, that’s what it ought to be – maternal instinct. One that each mother feels for her off spring. And I guess that’s what keeps our children from harm. It was just a feeling I had, but I decided not to ignore it. Nothing came of it. But then I keep asking myself “what if?”. What if I wasn’t as hyper and if something had happened to sonny. There are enough loonies in the world to ruin a child’s life forever. No matter what the situation, its best to err on the side of caution. So I hung onto sonny’s stroller acting exceptionally tight-assed with what may have well been a friendly store assistant. Or may be, I managed to fend off some psycho.

10 months down the line, I dont know if I’d call myself a cautious mom or a crazed lunatic who thinks the world is out to get her child. On a completely different tangent I often wonder if my super cautious attitude is rubbing off on sonny too (but that’s grist for another post). I suppose, till he is under my care (or as my mom would put it – under my roof) I will keep looking out for him ( o who am I kidding – I’ll be looking out for him – even when I am 6 feet under).

But seriously though I’d rather live and laugh about how manic I was than live in regret all my life for not having been cautious enough.



At 2:27 AM, Blogger Just Like That said...

you know sometimes I think having too much info' is a blessing and a curse.
What we would once have taken as a natural attraction/friendliness to a cute baby, in the innocent days long past, is now looked at with suspicious eyes.
I myself am so hyper when we go to a restaurant and Sonny boy starts walking around, and some waiter befriends him and carries him off to the other waiters... I am never at peace, even if he is within eyesight (what if some fingers are getting active...?) and while I try not to make it an issue, I go and collect him as soon as possible. I never let him out of eyesight. It doesn't help that Sonny boy is a naturally friendly, naturally curious kid.
'o who am i kidding- I'll be looking out for him even when I am 6 ft under' I loved this line, STS, it says it all, doesn't it?

At 5:20 AM, Blogger artnavy said...

caught up on all your posts

i am so with you on this
fear of the unknown reigns high

btw why no pics of bahrain?

At 1:17 PM, Blogger Kodi's Mom said...

I'd rather be labeled unfriendly and rude than....(leaving unsaid)

that was a chilling incident. you know, much as I crib that K is unsocial and all, when I think of such possibilites, I am grateful that he howls before he says hi.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger annie said...

Understandable...No motherly instinct but womanly!!

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Alan said...

You did the right thing. If you have a gut instinct about something not being right, it's probably valid. The numbers of psychos and sickos seems to be increasing exponentially. You can't be too careful these days.

At 1:28 AM, Blogger Usha said...

I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry. The trouble is it is tough to know where to draw the line.It is the times we live in.

At 6:41 AM, Blogger WhatsInAName said...

You are right. We can never know who is a wolf in sheep's clothings!

We have become one bunch of paranoid mums!

At 7:40 AM, Blogger Rohini said...

My mom thinks we are a generation of paranoid mothers... but how could we not be, knowing what we know

At 12:30 AM, Blogger Tharini said...

I agree heart and soul. That sounds truly creepy and you know what ticked off my alarm bells...hearing the word 'handsome'....not cute, not sweet....but handsome. Don;t ask me why. That gave me the shivers. You were way too polite tohim, that's my only complaint....I wudn't have lost that opportunity to tell the guy off!

I'm so glad you trusted that instinct....keep trusting it, even against opposition.

At 4:17 AM, Blogger the mad momma said...

we're a generation of scarred mothers passing the trauma on to our children...


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