Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Tasks of Superheroes

Thanks to iphone apps and the convenience of Hawaii being three hours behind and Philadelphia three hours ahead, there is only a brief period of time in which NPR is not playing in my house. It is my primary source of news and information but I also just like the calm monotone voice sounds and Ratatat interludes.

However, it has gotten a bit more complicated now that Alma's ears are more preceptive and her brain more understanding. I do censor what she hears to some extent. For example, I didn't listen to NPR at all around her immediately after the Sandy Hook shooting or the Boston Marathon Bombing. But, the news is full of all kinds of things both big and small in their terribleness and it is not always clear what is appropriate for her to hear and what is not. She does this thing where she will pick up on one word that is said and say it back in a loud and disbelieving voice, as though the word were the funniest thing she has ever heard. Tonight I was listening to Marketplace and she said, "Mom! Money Laundry!!!! That's silly!"

During the coverage of the recent tornado, it became clear that she was not only repeating key words but understanding some of the context. Tornado is a terribly funny word to say over and over again. After she was done with that, she said, "The big tornado knocked down the whole city. Did people die?" I explained that the tornado was really big and people got hurt, some so badly that their bodies stopped working. Immediately, she responded, "When I am big, I'm gonna be Superman and then I'll fly really fast and push that tornado away and then no one will be hurt." She then ran out of the room and put on her cape and mask and flew around the house tackling imaginary tornadoes and cats.

I want to bottle that hope, that ingenuity. I want to capture the feeling that whatever is wrong is smaller than her, seal it in an age resistent container, and save it for her for that moment when life suddenly has a growth spurt and gnashes its terrible teeth. I want felt and craft glue and imagination to always save the day. I know that it can't, but I WANT it. I WANT it.


  1. All of this.
    The perceptive beauty of Alma as a human being and the beauty of you as her incredible mother, supportive and inspiring.

  2. Beautiful.

    Save THIS story and read it to her as needed just before handing her whatever superhero-like costume you can throw together at a moment's notice. Worth a shot. :)