Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Primitive Parental Brain

A coworker brought in her newly-adopted son from the Philippines today. Everyone was oohing and fussing and staring, and I found myself automatically turning to the older sister, a girl of six, and engaging her in conversation. Two others, both mothers of older children, did much the same as they later entered. Near the end of the visit, a woman about forty who I had not seen before came in and was introduced. She made brief but pleasant comments to the mother about the boy, but mom and son were clearly taken up with much attention from others, so she turned slightly to the girl, asked simple questions and made encouraging statements. Automatic. Experienced hands know how easy it is for noses to go out of joint.

I checked, just for confirmation so I could report it honestly, but you knew. Wedding ring. Such things occur to non-parents eventually, but to parents as naturally as breathing. It’s not a wisdom thing – it’s the primitive part of our brains, scanning the emotional territory for possible sources of meltdown, before conscious thought has even engaged.

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

Good on ya! The other two, too.