I was never hugely superstitious (but do come from a family that is) until Livia was born. Once she came into this world, there were red bracelets and ribbons all over the place- on her crib, in her car-seat, on her diaper bag, on her ankle. I was very guarded about who came near her and any time we would leave the house, she would have to wear a red ribbon. My house and her crib ended up looking like the love locks at Brooklyn Bridge, except these were ribbons.
For those of you that don’t know, Latina moms are very wary of the “Mal de Ojo” (the infamous Evil Eye). We learn from our mothers to protect our infants and children from over admiring glances and envious stares as this could lead to illness or bad luck. In order to guard against these maladies, babies are gifted “eye” or red colored bracelets, which the mothers very much appreciate as this is considered protection for the baby (I think I received over 10 bracelets, ribbons, and blessed strings).
Regardless, this leads me to a much greater point which is we would do anything to protect our children, even if it means tying twenty ribbons to each one of their tiny toes. As a previous sans baby adult, I would like at the “eye” or “hamsa” bracelets as something of fashion or to be work as a fad. As we become mothers, it is interesting to see to what degrees we will go to safeguard our children- from blessing the house, to getting them baptized, ensuring that no one steps into the nursery with shoes on, having them wear protective jewelry, or even signaling the sign of the cross on their forehead at night, we become fiercely protective creatures- not only in the way we act, but also come to embrace the things that we might have ridiculed our own mothers for. Why do we do this? Because you really don’t know what it is to love something more than yourself until you have created life.
We have no problem doing the things that harm ourselves as humans, but will do or believe anything in the world to ensure that our children stand safeguarded because we know the evils out there.
So more than anything, what are we really concerned about? Making sure our children are protected from jealous eyes or ensuring that they don’t make the same mistakes we make as adults?
Little by little, we all become our mothers.
As a note- my daughter still wears her eye bracelet. Not taking any chances here!