Sunday, May 10, 2009

On Motherhood, and Superheroes

My Mom is a superhero.

It occurred to me this earlier in the week, when I listened to my regular radio station.

Two of the morning guys were putting together costumes in a bid to apply to the World Superhero Organization. Dee decided his alter ego was Blackout, while Taint was (this still makes me snicker) Walken, Texas Ranger. That's Walken, not Walker. As in Christopher Walken, with a dead-on impression to match. Hilarious.

Anyway, it occurred to me that there is a superhero, perhaps, lurking in all of us, just waiting to be discovered.

Only the thing is, I couldn't really figure out what I'm so good at that I would qualify for super powers, dammit.

But my Mom, now, that's a different story.

My Mom is the most selfless person I know. She would do anything for anyone at the drop of a hat. I know this is true because I have put it to the test more than once, calling on her and my father when I was in the hospital and needed someone to watch the boys because The Engineer was across the country (or even out of it) on business. I have asked for the same favor while we were away celebrating a birthday or an anniversary, or just when I was falling apart from stress and couldn't handle it any more.

Every time, my Mom would come through for me, even if it meant driving across the state at the last minute to be here.

And she does the same thing for her own Mom and siblings.

My Mom is the oldest of six brothers and sisters (though I think she looks the youngest). Despite living on a fixed income herself, Mom and Dad chip in financially to make sure her own mother, my grandmother, is cared for now that she has reached her mid-nineties(!). Great-grandma, in fact, is a bit of a superhero herself. Here she is with a painting she made last month.

But back to Mom. She is, as I say, one of six kids, and she helped raise her younger brothers and sisters. Maybe that's why she can remember the names and birth dates of all of their kids, and their kids' spouses, and all of their children, too. I don't know how she does it, because I can't, and I'm mumble mumble years old.

But although I may forget my own niece and nephews' birthdays occasionally, or neglect to call my two wonderful brothers-in-law when they are celebrating, my Mom never lets anyone's special day pass without notice.

My Mom is also a very private person, though. She wouldn't want to go around having anyone treat her as Mother Teresa despite her caring and empathetic nature. So, even though I think she deserves it, I wouldn't make her superhero alter-ego be Super Selfless. That's much too showy for Mom.

Instead, I'd draw on her other talents to create that superhero persona.

First of all, Mom is fantastic with language. When I was growing up, Mom was always working on a novel that she never really finished. I think her unpublished status is due more to modesty than a lack of perseverance, because Mom never gave up on anything.

Her love of language makes her excel at word games, scramblets, crossword puzzles and the like. She loves Scrabble and can always find that seven-letter word hiding in the tiles. So that's a good place to start.

I also don't think Mom'd want some silly sidekick hanging around, dragging her down, when she was performing her heroics. Mom's the kind of person that likes to get things done. She's really organzied, and she does well on her own.

So, that's what we have to work with--a lone avenger who loves any kind of linguistic challenge.

So (prepare yourself for ingenious superhero name time!) I have decided that my Mom would make the perfect....

Crossword Crusader!

That's right. Imagine the scenario: you're stuck in the middle of a Scrabble game. You're down by fifty points and your tile rack holds an umpromising combination of U I R Y O X Q. You're about to concede defeat when...

In swoops the Crossword Crusader!

Dressed in comfortable loungewear (because she has far too much fashion sense to opt for skin-tight spandex), a pencil tucked handily behind her ear, a thesaurus in one pocket and a dictionary in another, she reaches down with lightning speed and rearranges your letters, playing them on a T for the game-winning, ridiculously high-scoring: QUIXOTRY.

Or perhaps you are taking a long flight somewhere. Trapped on your plane, you have concluded (in pen, because you are not without your own pride) 3/4 of the NY Times weekly crossword on your own, and you're feeling pretty good. But that last square--you know, the one on the bottom that has not one, not two, but three words you just can't figure out, so even the remaining letters fail to provide the clues you need to solve it--is just sitting there, mocking you with its empty squares.

Lucky for you, my Mom is on that plane.

With her trusty thesaurus and pocket dictionary, the Crossword Crusader makes short work of those final squares. When your plane lands, you saunter off nonchalantly, the finished crossword prominently displayed as you tuck your newspaper under your arm and depart the gate.

You can thank my Mom. The superhero.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you!

1 comment:

Mamma Mia said...

A great tribute to your mom! I am starting my own blog and would love your feedback.
Thanks in advance!

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