all of the selves we Have ever been
Every mom has an inner MacGyver.
We may not be secret agents, but we each have a deep well of resourcefulness. We can save a life, and we know how to make do in a pinch.
The Hollywood MacGyver is described as having genius-level intellect. He can speak several languages and dispose of bombs. He understands physics and engineering. MacGyver is known as a non-violent problem solver. He does all of that in his fashionable Hollywood wardrobe.
Most moms do genius level work without the IQ testing. We may not speak several bonafide languages, but each child comes with his or her own dialect. Moms are masters at diffusing things that are about to explode. Just ask any mother who has three kids at home with the stomach flu. We don’t have to study physics to understand the relationship between time and space. Moms know there is never enough of either, and yet the kids show up to the bake sale with cupcakes on a moment’s notice. As to engineering, I’ve been known to oversee the construction of everything from erupting volcanoes to a scaled-down version of the Parthenon, and I know 50 ways to unclog a toilet. If most moms weren’t so busy being moms, we’d be diplomats. That situation in the Middle East would be old news by now. And we can do it all on a bad hair day while wearing our pajamas.
There are the common, simple things we do like minor repairs to eyeglasses using twisty-ties, and cardboard shims under wobbly desk legs, reusing shopping bags and wrapping paper to cover school books, and wrapping a washcloth around a spatula to make a lotion applicator for someone’s back. Stepping it up, we create entire Halloween costumes out of rain ponchos. One time I had to transport a Jello salad to a gathering three hours away. I had no cooler, but in true MacGyver-fashion, I transformed a cardboard box, aluminum foil, and a plastic bag into an ice chest. The salad made it to the table with not so much as a drop of sweat on the glass dish! I hate to boast, but it was a proud moment.
But the Oscar goes to my Aunt Addie. She tops the list of impressive MacGyver-style improvisers. Many years ago, Aunt Addie attended an evening basketball game in which her son was playing. A terrible snowstorm kicked up while the game was in progress. By the time they returned to their car to make the trip home, it was dark outside and the car was covered. The snow continued falling thick and heavy. Addie started up the car, but when she turned on the windshield wipers, they malfunctioned and went dead.
The snowfall made visibility too poor to make it home without the wipers. Addie took the shoelaces from my cousin’s high-top basketball shoes and somehow rigged them to the wipers. They manually operated the windshield wipers by pulling on the shoe strings and made it safely home! A legendary, hall-of-fame, MacGyver-Mom move!
One of my favorite MacGyver-Mom stories is one I only read about. A child complained to his mother that his costume did not fit, and he had nothing to wear for trick-or-treating. The mom suggested the boy wear his pajamas and go as a tired person. Pure genius! And that mom was probably swinging between rooftops taking food to a neighbor when she came up with the idea.
After recalling all of these mom maneuvers, I decided to look up the definition of “mom.” A mom is “a person who has responsibility for the care of children.” What?! That seems pretty lame to me, but perhaps the description was just too long to print. In fairness, I am revising the description of MacGyver to “a person who takes after their mom.”