Of course, I saw the new movie touting all the super heroes! I grew up with them. I loved comic books but had no subscription. My sources were Susan, my best friend, whose brother had a large box of them. Susan’s mom had secured the comics in an unused wood stove in their basement. Susan would stand guard while I read as fast as I could.
Every summer, we vacationed in Spirit Lake, Idaho at Uncle Cliff and Aunt Rosie’s house. My cousins, Pete and Oly, had an even larger box of comic books twice the size of Susan’s brother’s collection. I could “comic book” to my hearts content. Back to the movie; I loved it and stood up clapping at the end. After I got home however, I realized that my favorite hero had been omitted! Plastic Man was not represented! He was an amazing flesh colored, stretchy hero, who thwarted bad guys right and left. I loved the comic book where he figured out that the drinks at a roof top cocktail party were poisoned. My parents had cocktail parties so I was especially interested in how Plastic Man would save those who hadn’t already bit the dust. I remember these reading marathons as if they’d happened yesterday.
In reality, my superhero was my father. Mom? Yes, however, she was approachable only under certain conditions – the main one being “I didn’t do it, mom.” Dad on the other hand knew better. Not only had I done it, but I could justify it. In most cases I could claim legitimately that I had “gotten away with it”! However, I thought he should know “just in case”. I covered all my bases. Happily, my father let me know albeit subtly that I was simply high spirited. Better yet, he seemed to be proud of my fearlessness. Where angels feared to tread didn’t phase me. I was not an angel. I saw my childhood self as judge, jury and avenger! My adulthood has not been any different – just ask my children!
It has occurred to me more than once that parents should be superheroes for their children. Bringing children into the world is a great joy. As parents, we should also be shepherds, guardian angels and yes…superheroes. We should have patience. We should have the capability to see our child’s humanism; their abilities, needs and frailties. We have been there, and we should be able to honestly access the strengths and weaknesses of our children.
A helping hand, the ability to listen without prejudice, the ability to fearlessly take action if necessary: these are the qualities of superheroes and yes, good parents. Our obligations are to share our knowledge, our abilities, our love and our acceptance. Providing a warm and loving atmosphere is a good thing. However, of equal value is our reaction when for whatever reason our own circles of stability are upended. In such moments, our actions and reactions take the stage. In that situation we can indeed become heroic. We can manifest the all-important attribute we call survival. If done right, survival techniques involve facing the problem, getting assistance if necessary, having the ability to bravely go beyond a possibly unfortunate solution to the unconventional. Certainly, there is a higher power, but more readily available can be the knowledge of what to do and the courage to carry through. Plus we don’t need to wear capes or tights!
It’s the best medicine!