I glared at my husband, my heart pounding, my eyes narrow slits, my jaw set. He and my father-in-law were standing in the driveway working on some garage project, and my then-8-year-old son had just come in to report some neighborhood bullying. Brett, a little reticent to scare the (heck) out of a 9 year old neighbor, just looked at me.
"Fine. I'll do it!" I announced and made my way out to the three kids huddled in the middle of our cul-de-sac. Now, there are always traces of the grizzlymamamesswithmeormineandI'llkickyourtailfromheretothemoon hormone in my genetic makeup. But I was with child at that time, and when I'm pregnant, my brain plum near marinates in it.
So there I was, pregnant mom, facing off in the street with three fifth graders. "What's the problem (you little snot-nosed, government-educated twerp--I did not say aloud)?" I said, as I walked up.
The instigator (we'll call him Damien) replied, "Nothing."
"Seriously?" I snarled, "because I'm getting a different report at home."
Damien said, "Jake gave me a black eye."
"You're lying (you little snot-nosed, government-educated twerp). It's rather impossible for him to give you a black eye without his fist making contact with your eye." I loomed over him, and at this point, I do believe I resembled the Uruk-hai licking his knife in that scene at the end of The Fellowship of the Ring. And I fully intended to.
One of Damien's friends high-tailed it home now. And the other one stood rooted in his place, staring at me wide-eyed. Damien, himself, started to shuffle in place and looked at the ground.
"This will not happen again," I quietly hissed before I stalked off.
Heads bobbed in assent.
I marched back up the driveway and swept past the men, who were no doubt reviewing scenes from their childhood when either Dad came to the rescue and shouldn't have or Dad didn't come to the rescue and should have. But I'm a mom, and I don't have time for father/son/ego/self-esteem mumbo-jumbo. This was my kid's personal safety on the line. I calmly entered the house and went into the kitchen where my mother-in-law was standing.
"You handled that nicely, Noel. You didn't raise your voice or anything."
I smiled. You have no idea, I thought to myself.
A few minutes later, the doorbell rang, and there stood Damien's wide-eyed friend. "Damien wants to apologize," he said cheerfully. Sheepishly, Damien stepped forward and apologized for the way he had treated my son. I walked over to him, shook his hand, and said warmly, "I forgive you!" Damien's droopy gloom changed to a bright smile. "Great!" he said, and they ran off to play.
Today, when Damien knocks on my door, he is respectful and courteous. I still don't trust him, but now he's more like Eddie Haskell of Leave it to Beaver than Damien. He and Jake still occasionally tussle, as boys are wont to do, but the bullying has stopped.
Three cheers for the Uruk-hai.