In past years, I haven't thought twice about the superhero costumes that grace the aisles of the local costume outlets and big box stores for weeks leading up to Halloween. These costumes are slick, outrageous and invariably glorify the entertainment industry's current big box office release. Guys can take their pick from Batman, Superman and Thor, whereas girls can choose from Maleficent, Wonder Woman and Catwoman to name a few.
This Halloween, I find these superhero costumes severely lacking. I find them lacking because behind my every day, ordinary looks and middle-class trappings, I am a superhero -- the real kind. Just this once I'll take off my proverbial mask, shed my facade and let you in on my secret...I am a superhero single mother and I now realize that none of these standard, ordinary superhero costumes can do justice to the real thing.
As a single mom, the one thing I do have in common with these characters of fiction found in your local costume aisle is that I hide my superpower. I hide it really, really well. Instead of a mask, I hide my superpowers behind my tired eyes and weary yawns. Instead of a cape prominently flapping in the breeze, I usually dress my superpowers in yoga pants and sneakers after work and my hair is rarely coiffed into perfectly flowing tendrils. While I certainly share the superhero traits of strength, indomitable will and tireless vigilance, my real superpower is that I sacrifice all for the good of another. I am all things at once: mother, father, friend, teacher, chef, nutritionist, coach, pastor, banker, doctor, healer, protector, handyman, stylist, driver, and above all else, shoulder to cry on. I am completely and wholly responsible for the care, nurturing, livelihood, education, monetary support, happiness, emotional well-being, and well, everything of one perfect little man. The weight of the world rests on my shoulders and not only am I surviving, I am knocking it out of the park. My son is still breathing; he is growing; he laughs, loves and thrives.
This Halloween, I challenge you to take back the word superhero monopolized by the billion dollar entertainment industry. In our world we don't need to look to the land of make-believe and special effects to find real superheroes. Superheroes are everywhere if you just look hard enough. Real superheroes are the parents, teachers, firemen, police officers, nurses, doctors, military service members and so many other people sacrificing every day for the good of others. This Halloween, I challenge you to dress up like a real superhero -- one of our own superheroes who live in service to others.
I invite you to take back the word superhero by sharing your real superhero inspirations with the hashtag #realsuperhero.
And maybe, just maybe I'll use my superpowers to raise a son who values the real superheroes in everyday life above Superman, Batman and other Hollywood go-to fictional superheroes.
That would be my greatest superpower of all.