I remember being in elementary school and being given a writing activity with the prompt of “If I could have any superhero ability I would choose____________”. The boys in my class would write they would want x-ray vision and then whisper to each other “so I can see through girls’ shirts”, and then the girls would all roll their eyes and whisper to each other that “the boys are SO immature”. Actually, we still have conversations like this, but now they occur in bars instead of 5th grade classrooms.
I always wrote that the super hero power I would want was to be able to fly. I often had dreams that I could fly and I thought that it would be amazing to be high above the trees looking down on everybody else on the ground. Even now I sometimes daydream that I can fly when I am driving 50 minutes one way to work each day. Flying would be way faster.
Little did I know when I was 11 years old in the 5th grade with my blue rimmed glasses that were as big as my face, my rolled up jeans, my crimped hair pulled up on the sides in a scrunchie, and my 17 jelly bracelets. that someday I would, in fact, possess actual superhero abilities. That’s right, plural! I had no idea back then that instead of making up dances to Footloose in my basement and watching Little House on the Prairie reruns, that as an adult I would actually be joining an elite group of superheroes with such amazing super powers.
“Wow!” you must be thinking, “what kind of superhero are you exactly?”
Well, I will tell you. I am the kind of superhero that gets one whole day out of the year to celebrate with my fellow extraordinary human beings our collective, amazing superhero powers. One whole day to be pampered, doted upon, and celebrated for the selfless superheroes that we are. Theoretically. In all actuality, we superheroes really spend the day doing pretty much what we do every other day, but we do get to be showered with homemade “gifts” from our precious children that we “ooh” and “aah” over until they aren’t looking and then promptly hide away somewhere.
This day, of course, is Mother’s Day, and by superheroes, of course, I mean moms.
I can already sense the eye rolls and hear the “psshh”s from all the dads and non-moms out there. And, perhaps it does sound a little egotistical to call what I and all other moms do each and every day “superpowers”, but we do do (I know Mr. Wizard, I said “do do”), we do do some pretty damn miraculous feats.
Here are some, to name a few.
1. Super Crumb Vision. I recently discovered that in my house, I, and only I, have the superhuman ability to both detect and clean up crumbs on the counters and floors. No one else in my family seems to possess this ability. Do you understand what I am saying?? That I can not only SEE the crumbs…. but that I can also WIPE THEM UP?!?!!? I know. Freaky.
2. Toilet Paper Changing Abilities. You know those round rolls of cotton square trains that we call “toilet paper” that hang on a roll. Did you know that they don’t just self multiply? That they actually run out and then someone puts a new one on? It is kind of tricky. I mean, you have to decide does the roll unroll from the top or the bottom? This question has sparked years of intense debate worldwide. And then you have to contend with the springy thingy in the middle that can be a little too complicated for someone who does not posses TPCAs (toilet paper changing abilities). Luckily, in my house, my husband also has been blessed with TPCAs. Not to be too immodest, but clearly we are a very super family.
3. Bodily Fluid Cleaner. Most moms I know (not all, because some don’t possess this super power) but most have the ability to clean up vomit, poop, urine, drool, snot and any other gross fluid that comes out of their offspring (and sometimes even complete stranger’s offspring) with complete dexterity and finesse. I have personally scooped little blobs of poop out of the bathtub (with my BARE HAND) before Sassafrass had a clue that her little brother just left little brown missiles in their shared bath. I have, on multiple occasions, unflinchingly caught vomit in my hand just out of instinct when nothing else was available. I can get up in the middle of the night, put soiled bedding in the wash, put new bedding on the top bunk of the bunkbeds, go back to bed and finish the dream I was having, all without ever fully waking up. I have been with a group of women, some moms, some not, and have seen someone’s child run up to the group with a huge, green string of snot running from his nose. The non-moms will panic, throw their hands up and frantically look from side to side, apparently for a tissue, all while yelling “DISGUSTING! OH MY GOD! GET THE KID A TISSUE!” In the meantime, a mom, maybe not even the kid’s mom, will, without even thinking about it, wipe the kid’s nose with her hand before he can get it with his tongue. Kind of gross, yes? But superhero moms know that soap and water are usually readily available. And, if they’re not, you can guess that a mom will have a bag somewhere with enough hand sanitizer and tissues to last for 34 years.
4. Laundry Finisher. Now, anyone can be a laundry starter, but it takes a true superhero to actually start and finish an entire load of laundry. Any yahoo can throw some dirty clothes in a washing machine, and, maybe, if the stars are in alignment, just maybe he or she (probably he) can put said load of laundry into the dryer as well. But, evidently, it takes superhero abilities to be able to put the laundry in the washing machine, take it out and put it in the dryer, take it out and fold it, and put it away where it belongs….. all in the same day! Did you know that some moms out there who have three or more children can do this superhuman feat not once, but three or more times!! Every day!!!! Astonishing.
5. Miraculous Healing Powers. Even though the majority of moms did not go to medical school, we all possess the uncanny ability to cure many ailments with just a smooch and a snuggle. This afternoon Little Man fell down in the backyard and scraped his knee. When he ran over to me, crying his cute little head off, I simply brushed off his knee, gave him a kiss, and declared “All better!” He ran off smiling. That is some amazing power right there, my friends. A few minutes later he ran over again, this time screaming his cute little head off “THERE’S AN ANT!!!!! ON MY ARM!!!!!”. Again, I brushed it off, gave him a kiss, and declared “All better!” Same smiley results.
After school Sassafrass came home crying because boys were calling her a “mean name”. Really, they were just putting an /f/ at the beginning of her real name, but to her it was the freaking end of the world. We brainstormed different responses to the name calling and, in the end, she decided that she would just ignore them. When I told her that boys can be dumb sometimes, and heck, even Daddy does dumb things sometimes, she giggled and went in the backyard to practice her cartwheels. Crisis diverted. Another example of those amazing healing powers in action.
Just as with any measurable trait that falls along the Bell Curve, there are some truly superheroic moms out there and some obviously less so. My grandma, who birthed 16 single babies and did not have an indoor bathroom until the youngest was a teenager is a true superhero. Truly. I, personally, fall somewhere on the left side of the Bell Curve.
Most moms I know do our superhero deeds day in and day out without any recognition for what we do. We do not announce to the world “I AM WIPING UP CRUMBS NOW!” or expect anything in return for taking care of our families. We are satisfied to be treated to a brunch once a year and gifted with some magnetic picture frames that our kids made in school in celebration of Mother’s Day. That is all the thanks we need.
But, just for today, I would like to say to all the superhero moms out there who scoop poop out of bathtubs and wipe noses and kiss boo-boos….. you are all amazing. Thank you, thank you for all you do.