My daughter said the funniest thing the other day. She was trying to get a stain out of an article of clothing. She was vexed. She had tried everything. Her mom was preoccupied doing something else. “Why are you asking me?” she protested.
And then my daughter blurted it out, frustrated. “Well, you're a mother aren't you? Don't you know any tricks?”.
And there you have it. High praise after the maxim there is many a truth in jest. There is a long list of things expected of mothers, especially that in a pinch they should know a few magic tricks. She’s the one you go to when you don’t know what to do. She will sort you out, it seems.
It makes me think of a snippet of prose I saw floating around in social media by one of those self-styled poets.
“I don’t believe in magic”, the young boy said. And the old man smiled. “You will, when you see her”.
And so it is that living with a woman, a mother you start to believe in a bit of magic, simply because it happens so often. They smooth the edges of life, simply because they have had to, for so long that you start to take it all for granted.
This also reminds me of one of our funniest family stories about my wife. There is a wedding picture we have at times displayed. My wife was stressed out from all that planning, likely ninety pounds soaking wet and elfishly thin. She is posing for the camera in a bedazzled jewelled tiara, and her hair is piled up. She looks strangely like the famous picture from Breakfast at Tiffanys, starring Audrey Hepburn. If there is such a thing as unintended natural beauty and poise, it seems Audrey Hepburn has it. It might make you fall in love at first sight. It’s something my wife seems to have as well.
And so we had the movie on, with the picture on the jacket, and my daughter asked why her mom was in that movie. We told her, “Don’t you know that your mom used to be a movie star, long before marriage, and now she is living a secret identity to escape the Paparazzi? Shhhhhh. Don’t tell anybody. It’s a family secret.”
My daughter took this all in stride. Her mom, the secret movie star. It all made so much sense. Don’t worry, she won’t blow our cover. Except that everything in life is revealed, eventually. Her confidant was her kindergarten teacher.
It was a delicate secret. She had to go and whisper in the teacher’s ear. “Yes, it’s true. My mom is a famous movie star. Shhhh. Don’t pass that on.”
It’s a family story that has survived until now and it still makes sense. There are not many people who could pull it off, to be mistaken for a movie star. A glam queen living amongst mere mortals. But my wife did. It’s a story that is self-explanatory. We are humbled by her presence. She’s a mother. She knows a few tricks after all. Right? Some of the mysteries of life can only be explained in a little magic.
“I don’t believe in magic”, the young boy said. And the old man smiled. “You will, when you see her”. I know because I have seen the whole movie, up close and in realtime. My wife has been the star of the show all along, it seems.
This is what it looks like when you want to be like Mom.