Today I had a very hard realization, my mommy super powers, the tools I have used to banish monsters under the bed, thwart toddlers before they painted their whole rooms with diaper cream, or prevent a child’s head from being used as a battering ram, are becoming much less powerful now that my kids are 16, 13 and 10.
True, there was the time my powers didn’t alert me that my then three-year-old, third 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 the Beatles on his new dresser. But even Superman and Wonder Woman have their bad days. As long as all three kids were breathing, I was in relatively good shape.
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 about how to do things.
No problem. I just informed my loves that I am 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 roads 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 looked 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 is it possible that a person can go into a school or church 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 pain away, but I can at least lessen it.
Now two of my kids are taller than I am, and I can no longer even lift my youngest to carry him to bed if he falls asleep downstairs watching TV. My eldest is thinking about college, and in a little more than year he will be able to legally sign a document and vote. Each day he moves a little further beyond my mommy-super-powers’ reach.
As I think about all that awaits him and my other kids as they continue to grow away from me and become adults in what can be a wonderful, but also extremely scary world, a part of me wants to stop time. There are moments when I feel I would sell my soul to keep them little forever. I want a kiss to always make their hurts go away. I wish to be able to banish nightmares with a song, or my mere presence.
Today is the day it finally occurred to me that I have had it all wrong. I am not losing my powers. I am giving them away. Sometimes willingly and lovingly, sometimes my kids have to wrestle them away. But the special powers were never mine to keep.