September 10

Momma’s Real Superpower


My first major disillusionment came on the second day of Kindergarten. We had done a couple of papers in class, and I had been disappointed with less than perfect scores. (Virgo much?) But I’d finally gotten one with 100%! My first perfect paper. Absolutely giddy, I couldn’t wait to get home to show it to my mom.

Except somewhere between school and home, I realized, I couldn’t find the paper–I lost it. Oh no! I’d wanted to keep it forever! I’d wanted to show everybody and display it on the refrigerator, for God’s sakes. That’s what you do with perfection.

Sobbing and utterly devastated at my misfortune, I did what I always did whenever I had a problem I didn’t know how to fix: I asked Mom. She tried to comfort me, sure, and said maybe I’d find it later (I didn’t). But when push came to shove, she did not produce a miracle for retrieving the lost paper.

What?! Uh oh. Mom wasn’t magic. There were some things she could not do. And one of them was bring my paper back.

I don’t care if you think I was dense; I had cause. Up to that point, she’d had a perfect record. What was I supposed to think?I had empirical evidence, damn it! My world shifted as I had to make room in it for her imperfection as well as my own.

Hell. If she had her flaws, who was going to make sure nothing ever went wrong?!

Yeah. I know. You can laugh at me now if you want, but I’ll just mutter something about Karma if you do.

That shift was nothing, though, compared to being on the Momma side of the fence. The first time you see your child hurting–really hurting, not just lost-paper hurting, but the real, life-can-suck-and-I-hope-to-Hell-they-get-over-it-hurting–and you cannot fix, erase it, or make it all go away…well, there are just barely words, you know? A weight on your chest,  sheer heaviness. It calls to a primal place, deep down in the belly of your soul.

Which would be bad enough, but it’s impossible to be a mother without the failure to protect your child from pain. I don’t care how good you are. You can help them dodge a lot of bullets but not every one. So this is a guaranteed visit for every mother, no passing go.

You cannot live and love and be a fully present human being without loss. It’s as predictable as breathing. Some do amazing things with the skills  build through pain, developing compassion, insight, or appreciation. Others get edgey and hard, and nobody can decide for you which you’ll be. The hard stuff  chisels us. But it’s all part of the whole. So we work with the marble we’ve got.

But you know, even if you can’t prevent pain, love sure smooths out a lot of the rough edges. And that’s something Momma can always do. Nobody can love you better than your Momma. It’s her true superpower!

Do you believe in Momma Superpowers?

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  1. This is a great one Dixie! It’s also intersting timing as I’m switching roles a little into parenting my mom and I REALLY need superpowers to do this. Hopefully no one looks under my cape.

    With great love should also be shown great respect. This is one I need to repeat often.

    Love you for all your guidance in your writings to us!

  2. from sophie

    I realized that I never really felt fear until I got pregnant. Maybe I was just naive, or maybe I don’t really care what happens to me, just don’t hurt my kid.

    Now I do know that constant heavy feeling in my heart, knowing that I can’t always protect him.

    :rain: :sun: :rainbow:

  3. Love IS the answer. Love is ALWAYS the answer. It’s the one thing we can always give them, even when we can’t fix what hurts them.

    I still grapple with feeling that I failed Nick in some primal way by letting my fear rule what I knew to be right for so many years. Until he grows up a bit on his own and comes back (or not), I love him. He knows that. He’s just not too into it right now…but he works full time, pays his bills, and isn’t on drugs, booze or in jail. I did some of it right, at least.

    Of all the things that, as a mother, tore me into pieces, hands down was last March. Two days after her 13th birthday, my beautiful daughter’s struggle reached the peak and she decided to OD on aspirin. Thankfully, she realized quickly that she didn’t really want to die; she just wanted her pain to stop. I was pissed at first, and then I was terrified. It was the worst month of my life, wondering if the meds would help her, wondering if they were just a bandaid, wondering if she was going to be herself ever again.

    I would move any mountain in the world for her, and she knows it. She knew I would understand, although she wasn’t sure how to tell me, that she was bisexual. Coming forward with that, as well as the meds that quiet the voices that tell her she sucks and should hurt herself, and me loving her with NO CONDITIONS attached as to who or what she “should” be, has brought the real her back. Not just to me, but to everyone.

    She is no longer hiding behind a mop of hair over her face. She wears makeup now and then. She doesn’t hide her inherited bodacious “assets” under a hoodie zipped to her chin. I couldn’t fix what was broken in her, but I could get her the help she needed.

    I am so blessed to have this young woman in my life.

    1. Kristine, I’m so glad to hear your daughter is doing well! And while you’re not wholly satisfied with your relationship with your son, it also sounds like he’s not doing too bad overall. In reality, you give them what you know how and the rest belongs to them.

      Mom love!

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