Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Who's Gonna Hero Up?

His first love was Nemo, then came Mater and Lightning McQueen, Buzz Lightyear and Woody. I can measure the years of my five-year-old's life by the characters he embraced at each age. He still holds a special place in his heart for the short-finned clown fish, and he sometimes plays with the Toy Story characters and the Cars' vehicles he has, but he is now, and I suspect forever, an avid superhero junkie.
As the lucky mom of a boy, I have learned more in the last year and a half about superheroes than I had ever learned in all my previous years. Let me share with you my top three lessons.

1) There is nothing complicated about a superhero's name and personality.
Spider-Man crawls around and can move like a spider, webs and all. The Hulk is hulky and smashes things. Superman is, well, super, with basically all powers to do anything and everything. The Green Lantern has a power ring and green lantern. Batman... okay, Batman is the exception here. You would think he could fly, but he can't. He is just a human with really neat toys that help him to defeat the bad guys.

I am a wife, a mom, a friend, a sister, an aunt, a neighbor. This is not complicated. Neither is the fact that I know how to be a wonder wife, a mega mom, a fantastic friend, a super sister, an amazing aunt, and a nifty neighbor. Now my challenge is to hero up (the Super Hero Squad theme song) and be what I know I can be. If Ironman can live up to his name and role, so can I.

2) Avengers Assemble! Superheroes accomplish much more when they work together.
Although they each have unique powers that you would think would sustain them individually, almost all of the characters have joined with a group to make them more powerful and indestructible.

When crisis, death, and sickness befall our community, I see heroes in the faces of the people of St. Johns. Heroes who are joining together to clean out a flooded basement, attend a funeral of a long-time resident, and bringing meals and hugs to families. Yet, we also band together in celebration. Weddings, births, fairs, parades, state championships... We laugh together. We cry together. We join together. It is when we see the best in each other and come together in common purpose that we become powerful and indestructible.

"Assembled we are strong, forever fight as one."
3) Superheroes have normal secret identities.
This is my favorite one. Who among us wouldn't love to change from just simple ol' me to a flying, golden lasso-wielding, laser-visioned alter ego with a simple costume change? Sign me up! My son puts on his Spider-Man costume and proceeds to climb walls. Really. It is something about seeing himself as something more. Peter Parker is a science nerd; Spider-Man is swinging around and conquering evil. Nobody knows that Superman is Clark Kent or that Wasp is Janet Van Dyne. It is magical to see a transformation from ordinary to extraordinary.

Let me break it to you. We are all something more. We all have secret identities. We all have an inner light that is inherent in us. We are sons and daughters of God. It isn't such a secret, but it does sometimes get hidden as we go about the busy, day-to-day lives we lead.

When we see in ourselves something more, something of divinity, we, too, can transform. I want to be the superhero my son thinks I am and that my husband tells me I am. I want to be like my Wonder-Woman mom, who was a wheelchair-bound human with powers to love, to serve, and to uplift everyone around her. She may have looked ordinary, perhaps even less to some, yet she embraced the light within her and let it shine to blinding proportions.

Who is going to hero up? I know I am going to try.

Right now, I will start by playing Avengers with my son.

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