We live in a world of fictional creatures. Fairies, mermaids, dragons, and mothers.
From a young age we discover these mysterious, all powerful creatures, our imaginations suddenly in a metaphorical ball pit of perfection and endless possibilities.
Any time I was in a pool I instantly became a mermaid. My tail was gold and blue and my hair matched with a stark, sparkling blue hue. I kicked through the “ocean” on a “first priority” mission given to me by the king of the ocean (who also happened to be my father.)
My sisters were helpless fairies living in the top of the highest trees and I was a cheetah who, with no real motive, wanted to hunt and kill them.
A dragon egg sits at the edge of some undiscovered rainforest, its smooth service cool and vulnerable to the world around it. The baby dragon inside had only one hope of survivor: you. You had to take care of it until it hatched and grew into a mighty beast that would forever be loyal to you. (Have I been pretending to be Daenerys Targaryan since before she existed?!)
And most of us, especially us girls, would mother children, mimicking what we see around us portrayed as good parenting. We shushed the baby dolls held haphazardly in our arms and scolded it when the plastic toy “talked back to us”. We became the perfect parents. The perfect mothers.
But it was all pretend, wasn’t it? Fictional. Our imaginations having a blast in that ball pit they found. Our tails always became legs again. Our magical fairy abilities and wings always disappeared, stored for another day. Our dragon eggs turned back into stone. Our motherhood morphed into being children once again, holding battered dolls by the arm as the feet dragged against the floors.
And as we grow older, the ball pit starts getting smaller, no longer endless with possibilities.
For some of the less fortunate, mothers stayed in their imagination because who they knew as a mom never really lived up to what they expected or needed. For others, “mother” became a future reality.
For me, it stayed a magical creature. The most magical of them all. But it no longer seemed so mythical. “Mother” also known as “mom” and “mommy” was in front of me every day, as great and magical as ever before. This creature, this imaginative game, was a reality. And Mommy is more graceful than any mermaid, more magical than any fairy, more powerful and loyal than any dragon. The myth above all myths wasn’t a myth at all.
Still, though, “mother” saves a special part in my imaginative ball pit. If something is mythical, then it’s pretend, unattainable. The beauty and greatness I see in the mothers around me MUST live in my imagination because how dreamlike it is.
My mom was always Mommy. Master of finding lost items, making tears stop, and giving life-changing hugs. Unlike “sister” or “friend”, “mother” was much more. It seemed so… unreal. How could someone, a human like myself, be what she is to me? I know one thing; it’s not simply human. There’s something extraordinary about it.
And then my sister morphed into mother and suddenly she grew fairy wings and a mermaid tail. She became great like a dragon, all before my eyes. She was human and then she was more.
I grew out of belief in mermaids and dragons. I will never grow out of my belief in my mother.
How great “mother” is. How beautiful. How magical.