‘Mommy?’ she whispered. ‘Why wasn’t Daddy wearing his superhero mask?’ My heart fell into my stomach. I knew where this was leading.’: Mom says ‘our babies never had to question our superpowers until now’

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“Another shift, another FaceTime call.

‘Goodnight, Daddy!’


‘I love you, Daddy!’

‘I love you, too, baby girl!’

‘Don’t get coronavirus, Daddy!’

He paused.

‘… I love you, sweetie!’

Ian got off the phone and went to work on sick patients in the emergency room. I went to work putting our children to bed.

Benjamin went down quickly last night, but our daughter has been struggling a little more recently.

I was hoping a call with Daddy would help a little.

It didn’t.

Getting off the phone, I could tell Holland was still unsettled. I frowned.

‘Holland, what is it?’

She thought quietly for a second then turned toward me in the bed.

‘Mommy?’ she whispered.

‘Yes, baby?’ I replied.

‘Why wasn’t Daddy wearing his superhero mask?’

My heart fell into my stomach. I knew where this was leading. Ian’s mask was just below his chin for a few seconds during our goodnight phone call.

He did this so she could see her Daddy smile.

You see, Holland’s been needing a LOT of reassurance these days. We have had our fair share of anxiety tummy aches. There has been a lot of crying over weird things, when we all know the ‘weird thing’ isn’t what she’s crying about at all.

She’s been wanting to be held, carried, and coddled. And I just keep doing everything I can to meet those needs. Sometimes it’s exhausting, because frankly — I am stressed, too.

But the kids win out. They get the biggest dose of patience and kindness right now. They get the oxygen mask first right now, and I’m fixing to tell you why.

Snuggling up close to my little girl last night, I pulled her baby blanket up tight around her shoulders.

‘You don’t need to worry about your Daddy,’ I whispered. ‘He’s a superhero. You know that.’

And do you know what she said to me? She looked at me with tears in her big brown eyes and said:

‘But even superheroes have to wear their masks.’

Oof. My heart just broke.

Y’all, just do whatever it takes to make your babies feel secure today. Love them a little extra. Hold them tight. Hold their hand.

Watch their favorite movie for the 50th time. Don’t act put out about it.

Just do it.

Our babies have always seen us as superheroes, but they never had to question our powers until just now.

They deserve a childhood where they feel safe, and it’s up to us to give it to them.

Whatever it takes.”

Courtesy Mary Katherine Backstrom

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Mary Katherine Backstrom. Mary’s book Mom Babble: The Messy Truth about Motherhood is available here. Follow Mary on Instagram here.  Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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