I was out walking with my niece. At eight years old, holding my hand is for when she’s feeling overly affectionate and not for safety reasons. She’s a big girl after all, wise to the ways of the world and faces it head on, confident in her ability to bend it to her will. On this particular day, hand-holding wasn’t in the cards for us and so I had to resort to what has become a constant refrain when am out with her, “Sweetheart, I need you where I can see you.”
“But I’m right behind you!” The little imp was quick to point out.
This had me also pointing out the obvious, “I don’t have eyes at the back of my head.”
And that’s when our little sage floored me, “That’s because you’re not a mummy. Mummies usually have eyes at the back of their heads.”
She was right. Not about having freakishly-formed mothers that could headline a Vegas circus but about mothers having superpowers; because to their children, they do. Mothers are like God; omniscient, all-seeing and omnipotent energizer bunnies. They are at our beck and call when we are sick and comfort us when we have nightmares. They even seem to get things done while we are sleeping, like the elves in the Shoemaker story.
Mothers are their daughters’ first role models. We take our cues from them. We want to be them. My mum for instance, used to do my hair and so when she got me a doll, I did her hair. Because that is what mummies did. We have faith in God because our mothers do. And when our faith in God wanes as it sometimes does, then we have faith in their faith – Mum’s God has got this.
We eventually grow up and though we still love and respect them, we now know that they are fallible, maybe even loving and respecting them all the more because of that realization. So hugs and kisses to our mummies, the superheroes without capes.