When Your Power Ain’t So Super, Woman

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.

Superboy blog

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.

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“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:

Half of a Wholemama? The weird transition from Mommy to Mother

This post is part of Esther Emery’s #wholemama blog challenge on superpowers. Read more from some of the other wonderful women speaking into these weekly themes.

Whole Mama
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37 thoughts on “When Your Power Ain’t So Super, Woman

  1. “Sometimes your kids think you are invincible.” I think this is true when they are young, and sometimes we try to live up to that image for them, but then we realize that it’s better for them to know we are not invincible, that we need help, too. I love your story with your son! Sometimes we do things that might seem to be embarrassing or cause stares, but it’s so much more important to see the joy and excitement in the eyes of our little ones 🙂 Yes, we are very human, but just maybe sometimes, even with our weaknesses, we get a glimpse of the super women we moms really are. And yes, we have God and I love this: ” I imagine his He-Man voice proclaiming, I HAVE THE POWER!” (My girls used to watch He-Man) so I know what you mean. 🙂

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    1. My kids saw some hard times and eventually realized I wasn’t invincible. But that’s when God’s grace becomes most evident. Thanks for reading; I’m enjoying getting to know you in these spaces, Gayl.

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  2. Amanda, there ARE so many similarities to our posts …how funny, how delightful. Thank you for painting a picture of grace-filled wholeness and of making it through each – sometimes super tough – day. xo.

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  3. At first I thought you said the saddle bags were where we keep all our feelings, and was like, that could work, too. Lol! I love your descriptions, though. Beauty, reality, grace, arms wide open with love, and courage to embrace us all. Thank you. Really. Thank you.

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  4. Not so many years ago as the time flies I remember this awesome little girl and her family. Nothing would or could change those moments. Who would want to change those memories? Through the years as our lives changed and through the rough and good times you always remained a very special person. Those the good Lord blesses you with, no chance meeting or a passing ship. The gift of a friend is God’s love.

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  5. “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.” This is beautiful, and also spot on. Lovely post, thank you for sharing.

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  6. Love this. Love that you love your son enough to don a cape-danna. i love that our children see us for more than our mistakes, our weaknesses. They see our supermom side. Sometimes, usually, even more than we do. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  7. My son is nearly two. He suffers from Happy Baby Syndrome, as my father-in-law calls it. I often find myself, in whatever way I’m praying, asking the universe to help this sweet baby always believe in me as much as he dose right now. No matter what he needs or wants, he thinks Mama can make it happen. “We are Clark Kents and only pretend at flying.” – this says it all. Beautiful post, thank you!

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