My mother is a witch, and so I am a witch also. In fact, my grandmother was a witch, and I am confident that even my great-grandmother was somewhat witchy too. We come by our witchiness naturally – for we were and are mothers.
It was not uncommon for my mother to meet a new friend of mine when I was a child and take an immediate dislike to her. I would become angry when she would give me that look, shaking her head and letting me know that there was something about her that just wasn’t okay. And damn if she wasn’t right nearly every time it happened.
Sometimes, on days that were bad, I would walk in the door and my mother would be waiting for me, a concerned look on her face. Just that look was enough to make me break down in tears and tell her what was wrong – even if, until that very minute, I hadn’t known myself. What was it? How could she have possibly known that there was something going on? Was it the sound of my footsteps, or the tilt of my head? What witchy powers was she using?
Now, as a full-grown adult and mother myself, all I have to do is say “hello” when I answer the phone and my mother will ask “what’s wrong?” Usually if she asks, something is wrong.
My grandmother, perhaps the witchiest of us all, took one look at me when I walked through the door of my aunt’s house in October of 1991 and said “You’re pregnant.” I was barely a month along with my second baby, but she just knew. And then of course, everyone else did, too. Because how could I not admit it to my grandmother?
Once I became a mother, my witch powers grew along with my children. Being, like most mothers, sort of obsessed with my children’s well-being, I observed them, talked to them, listened to them and monitored them closely. I began to recognize when the were getting sick, when they were feeling blue, when they were keeping a secret or when they were in need of some extra mom time. The longer I was their mother, the witchier I became, though of course at some point I realized this witch thing was simply a motherhood thing. It’s not so much women’s intuition (though that certainly helps) as it is mother’s psychic connection. How many times did you sense something bad was about to happen – a trip, a spill, a fall – before it did? How many times did you know precisely how your child would react, know what she needed before she even knew she needed it, turned your head at just the right moment to witness something spectacular? How often have you answered the phone and before your child could even speak you knew if it was good news or bad?
We are all witches, all of us who have children. We are bound to them by months of pregnancy, babyhood, diapers and bottles and cuddles and sleepless nights. That time together, whether all day long or for precious hours in the morning or the evening has made us experts about what makes our children uniquely who they are. It gives mothers a base of knowledge and intuition that rarely goes away. It doesn’t end with childhood, or the teen years when, so often, they do everything they can to hide themselves from you – still those children you have known all their lives, despite the hair color, the piercings, the odd wardrobes, the unfamiliar snarls on their faces. Then they become adults, in the world on their own, fighting their own battles and making their own dinner – and still you know. They may be far away, you may not see them often, but something in you is still in sync with their breathing, their living, their existing. Every so often, you’ll pick up the phone to call them because you just have a feeling. And even if they don’t say it, they are glad that you are out there, watching over them with your witchy eyes and ears and heart.
Once you have found your witch powers, you never lose them. And for that, we should all be very grateful.