The Mom Move

You all know it.  You’ve all done it.  

Probably thousands of times.

I can remember riding in “Big Bertha”, our ridiculously elongated blue station wagon kitted out with wooden side panels. I was in the front seat, wearing no belt (this was the ’70s).  Every time my mother stopped short, her arm flew across my chest like a mechanical lever.  It was firm and carried great force.  It kept me still, in my place, and safe.

Then I had my own children, and suddenly my arm exercised the mechanics of the “Mom Move” instinctively, again and again over the years, like a well-oiled machine part on the assembly line of parenthood.

But then a strange thing happened yesterday.  I was enjoying an afternoon strolling through Marylebone with my youngest daughter. We were chatting, and I was about to cross the street when suddenly I felt it:  an arm pressed against my belly, firmly keeping me in place.  Jackie had executed the “Mom Move” effortlessly while mid-sentence, noting an oncoming taxi that I had not seen.

It struck me in more ways than one.  She is all grown up.

It is not lost on me that this happened one week before her 18th birthday, the seminal event that brands her a true adult in the world.  She is armed (so to speak) and ready for that journey that will start with the last year of high school.  She will be a Senior, further emphasizing her elevated status on the top of the high school heap.

They say you feel like you lose a limb when a child leaves the nest.  This is so true as I  initially felt disembodied when my older daughter, Katie, left for college.  I worry that I will feel like a double amputee when Jackie flies the coop as well; no arms left to execute the “Mom Move”.

But then again, I guess I won’t have to use it much.  After all, its purpose it to keep a person immobile, and now is the time that both my girls are ready to spring forward with full unbridled force into their lives.

Maybe my “Mom Move” days are over, but I know this.

My arms will always be ready to open wide

 in the most universal move of all —

the embrace.



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