There are tiger mothers who don’t write books or end up on best seller’s lists.

There are tiger mothers who ferociously protect rather than (figuratively) eat their young.

There are tiger mothers who rear up on hind legs and wrestle the world, its demons, and themselves for the children they are entrusted with.

They are the mothers who monitor health rather than the violin. The mothers who learn another language, drive dark nights through slums looking for run-aways, and enter into negotiations with social workers, schools and pediatricians.

The mothers who pound the pages of Scripture in their frustration, who lose sleep and weight and their sense of direction. The mothers who bleed second chances and still find the energy to forgive way past the 70 times 7 threshold.

They are the mothers who wrangle joy out of the darkest shebeens and rescue love that has been utterly lost in translation.

They pour themselves out like so much sweet syrup over piles of pancake happiness and the whole house is gut full. Full of goodness, full of hope, full of learning curves within curves that encircle a family and make them one.

This is my family and this is the mother my father married after my own mom died. She is ferocious in her commitment to every child that passes under their roof. I watch and wonder from afar – a whole ocean blue as her eyes between us. I would learn her parenting by osmosis if I could find my way back to the Southern hemisphere more than once every few years. I would sit in her shadow and talk parenting and learn the art and the discipline it requires of the mother.

Of the mother.

How she must sacrifice and offer her raw heart up to the God who gave her the children she is trying to tame, to shepherd, to lead. And how He gives it back to her more broken and more beautiful than any artwork we could aspire to. It is the way of the tiger mother who wants to lie down with The Lamb.

And it is the only kind of Tiger Mother I aspire to be.