Being a mother imbues us with certain capabilities. Some are immediate. You grow someone else inside of you. You produce life-giving milk. Others come quickly after a child arrives. You can tell your baby’s cry from another’s. You know what each different cry means.
My mother had her powers down well. I remember she could tell I was getting sick before I even realized it. She would look at my eyes. If they looked a certain way, she would inform me that I was getting sick & she was always right. With my brother, she could smell sickness. I remember her saying that he smelled like he had the flu and, like clockwork, he would be ill within a few hours.
How is that possible? That she could glean that from us without a word? Moms have other abilities that seem almost effortless.
We have the power to heal. One kiss can calm a frenzied child. One hug can keep away the monsters. It is easy to associate this with childhood but I know from experience that it doesn’t end there.
I remember a time in my life that was particularly difficult. I wasn’t a child. I was a grown woman. I lived in a big city, had a good job and my own apartment. I was 27 if I remember correctly. I was in crisis and flew home to be with my parents for a few days. I didn’t know what else to do. I just remember that my body and my brain told me to go home.
I stepped off of the plane and saw my parents standing together waiting for me at the gate. They looked so sweet and concerned. My tears arrived the second that I saw them. It was winter and they were both in their jackets. I immediately hurled myself into my mom’s outstretched arms. Her furry jacket collar softly collected my tears as I burrowed my face into her neck. I just wanted my mom. I didn’t want logic or advice or money or anything else. I wanted my mom. The effect was immediate. Her hug was the balm that I so desperately needed. It really was magic.
I am thinking about this right now because of the craziness of this time of year. There is always one more thing to do. It is easy to lose oneself in the idea of perfection. We need to bake something else. We need to decorate more. We need to have more people over. We need to get the perfect gift for a teacher, friend or loved one. It is easy to be swept up in the idea that we can just work a bit harder or spend a bit more money to make this time of year perfect for us and for our families.
But I am trying to remember the everyday magic of motherhood instead. The thought that it is not all about what we create or how we make our house look. We are blessed with powers that arrive the day we become moms. There is elixir in our hugs. We carry memories in our bodies. There is balm in our stories. Our hands have the ability to slow time. Our smiles can soothe the aches that the world has brought.
Do not take this lightly. Do not forget the wonderful possibilities that you carry with you. Be there for your kids instead of worrying about a list. If you have the privilege of spending time with your own mother, soak in some of her essence. It does wonders. Give her a hug and allow the effortless magic of motherhood to heal you a bit. Then share that with your own family.