Momma Bear Speaks

bears talk

Saw a personal friend during spring break who is an FBI agent. On January 12, 2007, he was first on the scene to discover Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby alive in the apartment of their kidnapper in Kirkwood, Missouri.

Those boys came back from the dead. Shawn had been missing for more than four years. Ben for four days.

St. Louis cheered and cried at their rescue. We remembered when they were taken. Now they were coming home. Amazing, tragic, triumphant resurrection.

My response to their kidnapper was immediate: If he were to as much as breathe on my child, I would rip his throat out with my own two hands.

I’m a Christian, and I can assure you that is not a suggested Christian response.

I knew it when I thought it. Didn’t care. I was overcome then and still quite sure now I could succeed in killing any predator of my child.

bears protect

I get angry sometimes. I have raised my voice. Even pounded my tiny fist against the wall. But cold-blooded murder? Vigilante justice? Not my thing.

This was different. A more powerful manifestation of the guttural pang of ferocity I felt the first time I sensed my child was being hurt.

I don’t recall the exact incident, but I can guarantee his life was not in danger. And it was very early on.

Probably a tiff at moms-day-out over a toy. Or a rejection by another one-year-old, if that is even possible. Maybe a thoughtless comment from an adult.

Before that, during my pregnancy when the news reported a child being hurt or going missing, a drumbeat thumped inside my heart as the feet of my child tapped inside my belly.

Protect, protect, protect. What is wrong with us? Grrr…

This usually ended in a heap of hormonal tears and a boycott of the news. Like the first anniversay of the disappearance of Christian Ferguson, who is still missing. I just could not watch the coverage. If I didn’t look, maybe this news would go away.

The day of Shawn and Ben’s redemption, my instinct was full blown.  An overpowering urge to lunge. Claw. Bite. Tear from limb to limb.

I had become Momma Bear.

bears together

Momma Bear is not a tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff like Winnie the Pooh. No, Momma Bear is a living, breathing, killing machine whose primal purpose is to preserve the life of her offspring.

If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a hundred times. Bet you have too.

From good women on Facebook or in grocery store lines. Upstanding women on the playground. Christian women in schools, hosptials, and churches. Young mothers, old ladies, even women who do not have children of their own.

Listen to us growl: It’s one thing to mess with me. But do not hurt the child.

Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. Psalm 10:12 NIV

An estimated 800,000 children are reported missing each year—more than 2,000 children every day. An estimated one in five girls and one in 10 boys will be sexually victimized before age 18. Yet, only one in three will tell anyone. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

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Filed under family & friends, women's studies

13 Responses to Momma Bear Speaks

  1. I totally relate to this posting as well Aimee though in a Dad way of course. My wife is so much like this it is scary. I think God gave you guys that built in response and realizes the effects it has on you. What amazes me is the mothers out there that are missing that gene and hurt their kids themselves. Those are the ones I would like to strangle. (Fathers as well of course) It may not seem Christian like, but I think God will be okay with it. I hope so…lol

    Great post like always,


    • Thanks, Rodney. Yes, my husband promptly commented on FB, what about the Papa Bears? We Momma Bears expect you to be right there fighting with us to protect the little ones! I think you’re right about God building the response into us, and not just parents. Responsible adults, even responsible kids, protect the helpless. In a world of gray, this is one thing we can be sure is the right thing to do.

  2. Stacy Matherly

    Absolutely! We have to protect our cubs. It not only instills in them to protect their future cubs but teaches them love, honor and respect, as well! This world needs so much more love, honor, and respect! Furthermore, it’s known far and wide that in our home it remains “an eye for eye!” That IS Biblical! If Wil hurts Jillian, Jillian knows she has permission to hurt back but at no more calibre than what Wil imposed. In the end, “an eye for an” goes, too, for those horrible beings who think about hurting my cubs. I, too, am thinking about hurting them! ….just in that natural, protective, Momma Bear way!

    Enjoyed very much, Aimee!

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Stacy! I especially like what you wrote about how we model protecting the weak to our kids when we protect them. And how it’s acceptable to fight against wrong and to take up for yourself. They so need to learn those lessons, as do we all. Say hi to Steve and the fam for me. Jeff says howdy too!

  3. Lisa

    I was actually with Jeff, stuck in the airport in Denver when the news broke. We sat in a TCBY mesmerized, and I remember tearing up in public. I don’t have children, but I I have dogs (not saying it’s the same thing) but I do know that I long for the day when those people that hurt creatures smaller, weaker or more defenseless than themselves get their just reward. It cannot come to soon.

    • I agree, Lisa. I had forgotten you guys were out of town. Now I remember talking on the phone to Jeff about it. I think we were all tearing up and crying that day. And it doesn’t matter if you have kids or not. You have one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve met, and you are definitely a Momma Bear. T would agree.

  4. Krista

    Aimee, we just got back from vacation at Disney, and I was catching up on your blog (see, you do have followers that are hooked!). I’m pretty sure I snarled at a “cast member” who didn’t like the fact that I was crossing a parade line when I momentarily lost Rhett. I turned to her and said, “I WILL go this way! I have lost my child!” She completely dropped her guard and followed me asking questions about his clothes, where we saw him last, etc., because I’m sure she saw the terror in my eyes that said she wasn’t going to stop me from doing anything. We found him not even minutes later, but I completely agree with you – don’t cross between me and my children or you may see the some ugly behavior!

    • Krista, I love your story! And I love your assertiveness. Those Disney folk must be well-acquainted with Momma Bears from far and wide. I’m glad the cast member in your crosshairs responded in a helpful and empathetic way. Otherwise, she may have lost an arm and we’d be visiting you in prison! Hope it was a fun trip and smooth sailing from there in the Magic Kingdom. Thanks for sharing. Thanks also for being hooked, my friend. I’m honored!

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