If I were a super hero I would be able to fly. If I were a super hero I would be able to play with fire. If I were a super hero I would live in a palace in heaven. If I were a super hero I would be myself.
When my daughter Seraphim was required to come up with a super hero costume for a school project she and I began to dream together. We let our imagination free to create worlds, powers, and abilities that were limitless. However, it wasn’t until the night before the project was do that things got real. Panic set in as she realized we hadn’t actually put practical effort into the costume. We came up with all these ideas, but how to implement them was another thing.
Problem solving 101… I had been working on the computer when she interrupted me with the urgent news. No big deal, I thought to myself. I am trying to be intentional about getting our kids to solve their own problems. I totally got this under control…
“How are you going to handle this?” I questioned, placing the responsibility on her to find a solution.
“We need to go to the store and buy a costume.” she looked at me with a “DUH” face.
“Cool, where are you going to get the money?”
A melt down began to proceed, whining and all. “How am I suppose to do this then? My costume is going to suck.”
I felt my insides unraveling as my impatience with her immaturity became apparent. Pushing aside my desire to get back to work, I knew I could use this as a teaching tool for growth. It was an opportunity to walk her through the process and allow her to take ownership of her homework.
“What things do we have around the house?” I responded with the utmost sincerity, again allowing her to own the problem.
Without saying a word, off she ran up the stairs. My eyes rolled as I felt irritation rising up. A few minutes later she returned to the office with a red sequined shirt in hand.
“I can be captain sparkle.” She said as she tossed it in the air allowing it to fall on my paperwork.
“What else are you planning on wearing with that?” I questioned with a snide tone.
“My jeans,” she replied.
I began to become frustrated with myself that I had allowed myself to become frustrated with her. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and respond the best I could.
“That is not a super hero outfit. What would your super power be if you were captain sparkle?”
Troubled by my response, she blurted out, “I don’t know. I don’t have anything to wear. We just need to go to the store.”
“I feel like that is the lazy answer. I need you to put some effort in here. What else could you do to make the costume more official?” I saw lights go on in her brain.
“We can look up outfits on pintrest.”
I started to feel relieved. At last we are getting somewhere. However, my stress levels returned quickly when I discovered the pintrest app on my ipad had been deleted and the battery was also about to die. GRRRrrrr. My hope was for her to be looking up ideas beside me while I continued to work on my computer. Now I was having to stop doing what I was doing altogether and help her out. The last thing I wanted to do was to make her feel like a bother, but she could feel my impatience growing as we sifted through the website.
“We can’t have logos either.” She popped off as we recognized some iconic emblems.
“That’s okay, you can make you own logo.” I attempted to explain.
Feeling misunderstood Seraphim took the opportunity to correct my ignorance by arguing that the teacher did not want any logos at all. My brain began to hurt as I fought off feelings of discouragement. I was going to use the initial intrusion on my time to become a teaching tool and now I was failing at everything. I am not getting work done, I am not empowering her to solve the problem, and I am causing more confusion than clarity. Instead of continuing on this route I simply gave up and was just going to call the shots.
“Please get out the craft paper.” I told her in angst.
“What for?” she replied, walking to the closet.
“Because I want you to.” I demand.
“Isn’t it alright for me to wonder what you are doing?” she said as she questioned my motives.
About that time, my husband who was also working in the office chimed in, “Why don’t you let her handle it Joy? It is her project after all.”
That was it. That was the straw that broke the camels back. “I am the worst mother ever. I am failing miserably. I suck. I can’t do this. I don’t know what I am doing. I am done.” all went through my head in a nano second.
“Seraphim, I need you to go out of the room while I gather my thoughts.” I said out loud.
My heart was crushed. I wanted to help. I wanted her to know she was important. I wondered why I had become so angry inside. I came to the conclusion… she is not a waste of my time. What the heck am I working so hard for anyway? I am working hard for her, for all our kids. I am working hard so they can be taken care of, because they are all important. In that moment I chose to stop worrying about work and focus on how to communicate “I love you” to her with my words and my actions.
First thing I did was look my husband in the eyes and share with him my heart. After he and I got on the same page I asked Seraphim to come back down stairs. I told her I was sorry for my shortness with her. After she accepted my apology, I asked her several questions trying to get her to come up with a super hero idea we could construct into a costume.
Finally, we decided on one. She was going to be the greatest super hero ever: A Seraphim is a fiery angel that reside in the throne room of God. They have six wings total. Two wings to fly with, two wings that cover their eyes, and two wings that cover their feet. They have the ability to see the glory of God and proclaim His holiness. They also have the ability to handle hot coals and cleanse the unclean. We decided she is already a super hero just by being herself.
Three hours later, one cut up old tee shirt, twenty sticks of hot glue, and countless paper feather cut outs, and viola. She had the coolest and most unique super hero outfit ever. She traced and cut out the stencil while I maned the hot glue gun. She and I laughed, bonded, and felt accomplished as we worked together. It was time well spent. And while she ended up with her homework project completed, ironically, afterward I was the one that felt like a super hero.