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Sunday, November 1, 2015
The best memories I have growing up were when my adoptive father would tell me and my brother nighttime stories with whole casts of characters he created. These figures were iconic – always with a central figure who was my dad’s alter ego – and these characters, with unique voices and all, were almost like members of our family. My favorite series of stories were about the superhero Man Wa Man – my dad’s secret identity, also known just as Man Wa, or The Great Wazini. As an adult, he shared with me that Wa came from our last name, Wasser. My dad would tell us of his nightly, outrageously funny escapades of donning his cape and flying out his bedroom window to fight the insanely ridiculous villains, but how ultimately, he would always get the bad guy and hand him off to the police to be put in jail. This superhero became such a part of my childhood that, at times, my father would not respond to my requests until I addressed him as Man Wa – something which I found less amusing as a teenager.
Fast-forward decades later to my own children – after taking my children to see the movie The Incredibles – about an entire superhero family, I decided to tell them about Man Wa Man, and how, actually, Mommy has a cape too. . . . My oldest son Caleb, who was 4 years old at the time, adamantly demanded: “Stop it Mom. You’re just trying to trick us – like those parents who trick their children about Santa Claus.” Oh great! I was trying to preserve their present and future faith in God by not intermingling the Holy Days with Santa and the Easter Bunny, but now, this was spoiling my chance to have fun in passing on my favorite childhood tradition! (I was adopted into a Jewish family, so there were no memories of Santa and the Easter Bunny for me.) I pleaded with my son, “Aw, come on, please just let me tell you a story – just for fun.” “No Mom, I’m not going to let you trick us!” Exasperated, I gave up.
But then, the following year, the movie “Sky High” was being released – another superhero family movie. Perhaps this would be my opportunity again. So I went online with my son Caleb who was 5 at this time, to read the movie review on Plugged In. I began to read to him about this superhero family in which the dad has super-strength, and the mom has a cape and can fly, then turning my head, I smiled at my son and slowly and coyly said, “Just like Mommy . . . .” He put his hands on his hips, rolled his eyes at me and condescendingly retorted, “Mom, you are NOT a superhero,” to which I replied with a hope-filled voice, “But, I wanna be.” Caleb stopped for a moment, thought about it, then said the most remarkable thing to me, “Well, YOU save babies.”
WOW!!! “Oh my goodness,” I exclaimed, “so you think I’m a real superhero?! Come here, give me a hug Caleb. That was the best thing you could have ever said to me!” I’m a pro-life speaker and attorney. For many years I homeschooled my children, taking them across the U.S. and even overseas with me. I speak sharing my own controversial life story, and telling people about the value of all human life. So my son has grown up knowing exactly what I do. It meant the world to me to hear my son say this simple, but profound statement to me.
So we all went to see a matinee of Sky High that day, and as I was putting the children to bed that night, they asked me to tell them a story about Supermom -- my dream come true! I began the story just as my dad always had – putting the children to sleep, getting the call for help, putting on my cape, and flying out the window . . . . But from that point on, my 3 oldest children collaborated in finishing the adventure and telling the crazy escapades. They had my youngest daughter – 4 months old at the time – as Superbaby, also with a cape and hanging onto Mommy’s cape, giggling and laughing just as she always does, as she flew through the air with me. Then my children had me spot “a bad guy abortion doctor,” and the story went on with Superbaby slinging her dirty diaper and all the other nonsense which perhaps you can imagine coming from 3 little children ranging in age from 2 to 5 years old.
We had so much fun over the next two months telling Supermom stories, so when Halloween costumes began to appear in the stores, I decided to purchase a Supergirl costume -- ironing on white-trimmed yellow letters “M-O-M” just underneath the big Super “S” emblem. I prepared my children for what was to come, and they all eagerly lined up, sitting outside of my bedroom door as I donned my costume and cape. “Okay, are you kids all ready to see Supermom?,” I asked from the other side of the door, with a quick response of children’s cheers. As I opened my bedroom door, my children’s jaws dropped and they gasped in awe. It was such a priceless moment! Then they jumped up and hugged me, demanding another Supermom story to immediately be told.
Having so many young children close in age (eventually 5 within 7 years,) people would regularly say things to us when we were out in public, like, “Are those all yours?,” or, “You’ve got your hands full!” Very few people have more than two or three children nowadays, so I know our family is unique, but my husband and I would see this as an opportunity to obliterate the notion that five is too many. My husband’s response to "You've got your hands full," has been to hold up one hand, spreading his fingers, pointing at them and explaining, “No, just one.” Then he’d hold up his other hand and say, “There’s still room for FIVE more over here!” People would never know what to say then!
My response has been to take pride in being a mother of 5 and say, “Yeah, well, I’m Supermom!” I’dbeen saying this for quite some time over that last year or so, and my children would not have anything else to add. But after the Supermom stories and the Supermom costume came to be, the next time I told a store cashier, “Yeah well, I’m Supermom!,” my son Caleb suddenly turned to the clerk and with much enthusiasm exclaimed, “It’s TRUE – she has a CAPE!”