In an earlier post, Catching a Full Breath, I mentioned the joy of seeing a child wearing a superhero cape or a princess costume, fully believing they aren’t wearing costumes, but are somehow transformed when donning such attire. I absolutely love it! And I wholeheartedly support moms and dads who allow their caped crusader or princess to choose their outfits and wear them proudly. Not only do these kids make me smile, but they remind me of days gone by when my own Superman or woman would walk beside me through Target wearing their capes like any other day!
Imagination is lost all too quickly.The belief that one possesses superpowers when a cape is on their shoulders or a tiara on their head, is a belief that disappears in a flash. And lest I forget my youngest, carrying a light saber, is in fact an acknowledgement of one’s Jedi status! This loss of imagination and belief does not need to be permanent in my opinion. There is a delight in returning to the imagination of youth.
Last week I enjoyed a series of carefree days like the ones I referenced in the post, The Next Penn & Teller. It was wonderful! My two daughters and I took a quick trip to Florida and joined the many princesses and superheroes who were at the theme parks. We pointed out young children who were wearing Snow White, Ariel, Mulan, Anna and many other princess dresses. We saw small pirates who were larger than life and more than one adorable, but knee high Spiderman. Those pint sized princesses and heroes were not alone in their ear to ear grins when a Disney or Universal celebrity came into view. Age had no bearing as we three Gratopps delighted in seeing some of our favorites. It did not matter that we had no small admirers with us. We took great pleasure in meeting friends who we feel like we had known all our lives. We were young, carefree and excited!!
I took particular delight in meeting a new friend at Disney. While exploring Epcot and taking extended time in the Germany portion of the park, we stopped to see if we could find our favorite candy from Germany. To our delight, there were bars of Strawberry Milka and we didn’t hesitate to buy some. We also didn’t hesitate to eat some. The lovely woman who was at the counter was responsive when I told her how excited we were to find the candy we had enjoyed while in Germany. She asked me which towns I had been to while in Germany and I began to list significant places. When I mentioned Erlangen, she interrupted me and pointed to her name tag. As I didn’t have my glasses on, I couldn’t read her home town on her tag. Sure enough, Alexandria was from Erlangen. I had spent a semester studying in Erlangen a few years back! It’s not a town many tourists frequent, so she was pleased I knew her home town. From that moment, our conversation continued in German and my girls just smiled. They knew my day had been made!
After a brief visit, my girls and I left only to return, so I could take a picture with my new friend. From there, Alexandria and I picked up our conversation as she led us across the street to give us a gift. We were each given a delicious bag of caramel corn, compliments of my new friend. As my husband appropriately reminded me, “It’s a small world!” How wonderful to be transported to another place where the moments were normal, with a touch of adventure!
The very first paper I wrote when starting graduate school was titled “The Preoperational Superman.” It was for an educational psychology course and I was examining developmental stages in children as they related to a specific event in my son’s life. The moment in question was when my son was about four and he was wearing his Superman cape while helping me with chores at home. As he was doing a particular task, I asked him if he needed my help and he replied, “Mom, I’m Superman! You should know better than to ask if Superman needs help!”
That memory still makes me smile and I am holding on to that thought tightly today. Putting on that cape gave my son the power to conquer any task. It was just as it should be for a child and as it should be for this adult. I’m not saying I don’t need help, but I am saying there is value in putting on a cape and believing that I can conquer the task at hand. There is value in imagining a brighter day with happy endings. There is value in believing the best outcome will be experienced.
I realize not everyone shares my views in this area and not everyone shares our tastes in where to invest our imagination. I was criticized, I’m sure with good intent, for letting my daughters watch “The Little Mermaid”. However, they did not go through major rebellions against their parents. I was told to not let our son watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the original cartoon) when he was young. To our relief, he’s an upstanding citizen who is not violent. Thankfully, my daughter who loved Gargoyles is well adjusted and has a tender heart. My Jedi loving, wizard loving daughter…well. she just may be Batman. 🙂
I say all this not to stir up controversy but to remind myself that imagination paired with heroes and princesses was a good thing in our home. It still is a good thing that brings laughter, joy, and adventure to our lives. It brings stories that are used to teach life lessons. Today it brings some youthfulness as I think it may be time to put on a cape.
Tomorrow a new normal begins. It is not an adventure I have chosen but I guess it’s a quest cast upon me. The quest is to conquer this cancer and begin living yet another new normal, living as one that has experienced cancer and has moved on. I may just need a cape for that. I may need the super powers to get through the next step. Treatment begins tomorrow morning. After several long weeks, it’s time to do battle. I won’t lie, I’m nervous, but I also have a sense of relief to be starting. While I’m putting on a cape and going forward, I still am appreciative of the continued prayers and encouragent. This is a team effort, sort of like The Avengers. 🙂
I know I just referenced The Avengers and that Batman isn’t an Avenger, but HE’S THE BATMAN! And I know Captain American doesn’t wear a cape, but he’s pretty cool!
I’m issuing a challenge to put on a cape and conquer a fear. Put on a cape and believe in yourself. Put on a cape and return to the confidence of younger days.
Let’s see if any readers are brave enough to put on a cape and post a picture. 😉