The pediatrician firmly pressed her stethoscope against my kids’ backs and chests to check for rasping sounds. It was confirmed: the nasty virus that my husband had caught had spared no one in the family. The doctor asked if I had caught it too, with a look that said she already knew the answer. As I shook my head, she said, “Ah, the power of a mother!”
One day, my husband came home with an incessant cough accompanied by fever, which carried on for about a week. When it finally abated, the virus hit my second son, my seven-month-old baby girl, and my eldest son (in that order).
I would sit beside them in bed spooning warm oatmeal. Sometimes, without warning, coughing fits would trigger a perfect trajectory of soppy oats in my direction. I was a human burp pad. How it was possible for the virus to have skipped my body when I was open to all the elements was purely astonishing.
But this is only the first of a string of abilities that tie our uncanny class together.
Mothers can do everything all at once. My two sons are firm believers of this power. At the drugstore, my nine-year-old Diego had to go to the restroom, while three-year-old Julian asked to be helped up into the baby’s stroller. All this at exactly the same time my left hand was reaching for a sizeable bag of cough medicines and a pack of toilet paper. (Did I mention I was also clutching little Meg with my right arm?)
It was downright perplexing that all this occurred in the presence of my nanny. It was not due to her unwillingness to help, but because my sons seemed to think that I had multiple arms and legs. After much cajoling, Diego finally went with his nanny. While we waited, Julian eagerly asked to be pushed around in his stroller. I had to place my purchase in the small sack under the stroller, pushed with my left hand while embracing Meg with my right. Wonder of wonders.
This brings me to the mighty super mommy gadget: the reliable, roomy rucksack that always does the trick. Bibs, water bottles, caps, sweaters, toys, and unfinished donuts are squeezed in together with my makeup kit, cellular phone, wallet, pocketbook, and car keys. Never mind that my children have their own small backpacks. Everything just seems to find its way into mommy’s bag. Once, at a teachers’ meeting, I was rummaging through my bag for a pen, but pulled out an orange crayon, a Matchbox car, and a lost wheel instead!
Finally, there is something to be said about the all-powerful healing kiss. The one that makes any kind of pain go away. A mother’s kiss is the only surefire remedy that can beat bandages any day. It is the miracle cure that instantly takes away the “ouchee”—and the tears.
Our children have known the mystery all along. The moment they came into this world, our strong, warm, able hands held them tight and drew them close. Between a mother and her child lies that secret, so infinitely powerful, confounding, and out of this world.
Rochelle is a preschool teacher with three kids of her own. When not doing forward rolls or hanging on bars with kids, she whisks away to write essays and poetry.
(First published as “Out of This World” in the Blessings section of the March 2008 issue of Good Housekeeping Philippines. Photo by Michael Kordahi via Flickr Creative Commons; used for illustrative purposes only.)