Superman has taken up residence in our house.
It starts the same nearly every morning: when it’s time for Cancan, our almost three-year-old to get dressed, he takes it upon himself to wear a) swim trunks and b) his “super cape.” Clark Kent becomes my boy’s alter ego, making his debut everywhere we go: at the playground and at church, at the farmer’s market and during family pictures at the beach in Santa Cruz. He shows up at our dinner table and at the zoo, in the grocery store and while we’re waiting for Mama’s Special Drink (otherwise known as a 12-ounce latte with a double shot and one sugar in the raw from the neighborhood coffee shop ).
He’s not soaring off anything higher than the front porch steps at this point, and snuggles from Mama still seem to be his Kryptonite. And here’s the deal: I’m totally fine with him being the superhero in our house. I’ve long since shed my own superhero cape, maybe because I’ve begun to realize that I can’t have it all and be it all and do it all and save it all. I no longer pretend invincibility and I’ve long shed my proclivity to drive myself into the ground, being the Best Mom and the Best Worker and the Best Friend and the Best Wife. Because at some point, I think we realize it’s not about being Best, it’s simply about being.
It’s simply about embracing the mess and seeking wholeness at the same time.
It’s about entering into the chaos and laughing a hearty, holy throat-chortle in response.
It’s about finding little, perfect chunks of shalom hidden in pools of Cheerios on the hardwood floor and in the splatters of dried banana that adorn the dining room walls.
And in that way, my kid seems to be the healthiest version of a superhero I’ve ever met …and one that I want to model and emulate.
As Superman was getting ready to go to bed tonight, he and the HBH (Hot Black Husband) migrated to the front room, where I sat writing this post. After dancing in his Batman underwear to the background music, he proceeded to start the elongated bedtime-clothes ritual.
Sitting down on the floor, he wiggled his feet into his footie pajamas. Determined and stubborn and most wholly alive, no sooner did a question follow his declaration:
I got this, I got this! …Can you help me, Dada?
Superman asked for help.
Asking for help is not what superheroes are known for, because superheroes don’t have to ask for help. Superheroes are superheroes for a reason, because they have every Super Perfect Power within them, but you and I, my friend, we are far from superheroes. And isn’t that a relief?
It means we can ask for help.
It means we can lean into each other.
It means we can show compassion and kindness to one another, even when we feel like our well’s run dry.
It means we can seek to understand those whose stories are different from ours, those whose cultures and histories and lives seem so far from our own.
It means we can seek wholeness and find shalom, the essence of which I believe is already there for the waiting, there for the wanting, there for those who so desire it.
So, join me, will you?
Join me as we strip off the superhero capes we think we can and should wear, as we yearn to be our most real and compassionate and whole selves.
So, we’re talking about power and superpowers and superheroes this week at #wholemama. Join the movement, and link up over at Esther’s site as we talk about All Things Superpower. Otherwise, what has Superhero Cancan taught you from this post? What are you feeling and thinking? Do share!0