By Amanda Cleary Eastep
He wants me to wear a cape to the grocery store.
“I don’t have a cape, Sweetie.”
My four year old streaks out of the kitchen, the red cape I sewed flying out behind him.
My next door neighbor regularly ridicules me. How the hell can I let my son run around the yard in a cape and puffy moon boots? Har, har, har! I imagine my son’s heat ray vision melting the neighbor’s eyeballs in his fat head.
My son returns in a flash and holds out one of the bandanas I use as a headband.
I tie two of the corners in front of my neck so the rest of the hankie hangs a short way down my back. Maybe no one will notice.
As I push the cart around our small town grocery, people glance sideways at us, but my son marches proudly alongside me. Superheroes need their Cheerios and maxi-pads just as much as the next guy and his mom, thank you very much.
Donning the cape makes me feel empowered, free even, like maybe I could fly. But I order a pound of thinly sliced ham instead.
My son is not a little boy any more, and he doesn’t run around the yard in a cape (parenting success!). But I want him to always remember that moment, to believe in me that much again someday. I want him to forget the kryptonite years when I failed miserably as a Christian and as a mother, temporarily tailspinning then clawing my way out of the rubble left by battles with his father and with myself and even with my three children.
Sometimes your kids think you are invincible. Sometimes we think our children are geniuses. But the truth is that we are all humans. We sin and bleed.
We are Clark Kents and only pretend at flying.
We break. We heal slowly beneath our Spiderman bandages.
“You are Superwoman.”
A friend has said this several times over the years, and I just smile politely. Maybe it looks like that from the outside. Maybe that’s why heroes wear capes and armor and carry cool bat-weapons…to distract everyone from all the fear and pain and scars underneath. And you thought that middle-aged super mom in tights had saddlebags. It’s just where she stores all her failings.
Batman has his Bat-cave, Superman has his Fortress of Solitude, and the Power Puff Girls have Chemical X.
Moms have a locked bathroom door, and dads have golf. We have Put One Foot In Front of the Other powers. We are Veryhuman.
Some of us have God, too. Not the parting the Red Sea one, but the one who is a Son, the one who calls me Daughter. The God of whiners and weaklings and would-be and washed-up superheroes. I imagine his He-Man voice proclaiming, I HAVE THE POWER!
Good thing, because I have a frayed cape, saddlebags and a pound of lunchmeat. And a love able to leap tall buildings.
Previous #wholemama posts: