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Love, Motherhood, and Super Powers

December 5, 2012 - Jen Zbozny
Today I am thinking about octopuses. Octopi, even. They have eight tentacles. Eve recently told me that if there are only eight of them, they should be called octacles. I think she makes an excellent point. Back to why I'm contemplating eight-armed undersea wonders today.

I'm wondering if octopus mamas get more done than I do, because they have eight arms. I wonder if the little octopus babies and children think their mama is a super creature too. Do they continue to hand her things while asking her to tie their eight little shoes in the midst of wiping the goo from beneath their little octonoses? Can she clear the breakfast table and find shoes any more quickly because she has one arm to clear with, one arm to reach a shoe with, one to fix octopus hair clips with, and six more to stop a fight, catch a toppling milk cup, find the keys, and carry the littlest or most resistant octopus child out the door with?

I bet not. I bet octopus babies are like our babies. They think their mamas are super heros. It doesn't occur to them that we only have the same number of eyes and limbs as they do, be it two or even eight.

In a way it's a wonderful compliment. My daughter actually believes I can do anything. She really has called me SuperMama. She's convinced I can fix any problem whether it's electrical, hardware, technological, plumbing (both her own or what's under the sink), automotive, medical, or emotional. Over time this magic opinion will be replaced. When she becomes a teenager, my stock will decline radically. Suddenly her SuperMama will probably be SuperDork, capable only of embarrassing her.

That's why, right now, I find ways to hold every little thing she asks me to hold while her little hands and pockets are free to explore and fill themselves up with wonderment and treasures. I only have a limited amount of time to be this kind of superhero, able to hold and fix everything, able to find the lost pieces and fix the hurty parts, be they hers or her beloved stuffed rabbit, Pierre's.

That's why, this morning, I had a strangely heartwarming moment when I slid into my jacket for the first time in a few days. There, in my pocket was a perfect reminder of how our children know and trust we'll be there. They know we'll be there to hold onto them and take care of their needs while they race about in glorious childhood excursions. Then they hurl themselves back to base (which is us) for a refill of love, security, and nourishment.

In my case, the reminder of that kind of love and trust came in the form of half a chocolate chip waffle in my pocket. I wonder if somewhere, in her eight octopockets, there are eight little octopus waffles today too. When you find your pocket surprise today, even if it's sticky and unrecognizable, consider yourself adored.


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