It’s a hard pill to swallow, but my mommy super powers, the tools I’ve used to banish monsters under the bed, thwart toddlers before they painted their bedrooms with diaper cream, or prevent a child’s head from being used as a torpedo, are fading into nonexistence now that my kids are 19, 16, and 12.
True, there was the time my powers didn’t alert me that my then three-year-old youngest child was drawing a race track in red sharpie on the living room’s cream-colored carpet. Or that my ten-year-old son would think it was a good idea to carve the names of all four Beatles on his new dresser.
Heck even Superman and Wonder Woman had bad days. As long as everyone was reasonably happy and breathing, I was pretty confident my powers were in good working order.
A few years ago, I noticed that my speed at making snacks was being questioned. I started to hear from the peanut gallery that the routes I took in my mom-mobile to get them to their after-school activities were not always the fastest or most expedient. They had better ideas how to do things.
No problem. I simply reminded my loves that I’m in fact a mom, not a genie or a servant and taught them to make their own snacks. I also reminded them that whoever was driving was in charge of the route to take, and if they didn’t like it, they didn’t have to go to their friend’s house or team practice.
Secretly I did look into upgrading my Mommy super powers to include a faster speed option and a much larger dose of patience. I mourned the good old days when everything I did for my kids was magical and perfect.
But I was also happy that they were growing up and able to do more for themselves.
Then came the days when I no longer could answer every question they had, like why do grandfathers have to get older and move out of their houses and into assisted-living communities? Why did people we love have to get cancer and die? How can someone go into a school or church with a gun and kill people?
My powers met their match. I learned there were some things a mother could never explain. All I could do was listen and reassure them that they were safe. Even when I didn’t believe my own words. Maybe I can’t take the pain away, but I can at least lessen it.
Now two of my kids are taller than I am, and it won’t be long before I have to stand on my toes to give my youngest a kiss on the cheek.
My oldest is in college, drives, can legally sign documents, and vote. He’s spreading his wings and flying. He’s reassured that I can provide a safe place to land if there’s ever a problem, but let’s be honest, he’s almost beyond my Mommy super powers’ reach.
It’s a gift and privilege to watch my children grow and become the adults they are meant to be, in what can be a wonderful but also extremely scary world. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that a part of me wants to just stop time.
There are moments where I feel I would sell my soul to keep them little forever. For a kiss to always make their hurts go away. To banish nightmares with a song or my mere presence.
Today I realize that I’ve had it wrong all these years. I’m not losing my powers. I’m giving them away. Sometimes I do it willingly and lovingly, and sometimes my kids have to wrestle them away. But the special powers were never mine to keep.
This is a re-working of a piece that was first published on the Dishwasher, July 20, 2015 under the title, When We Start to Lose Our Mommy Superpowers.