I love my daughter. More than anything or anyone else in this entire world. There are days when my love for my daughter fills me so completely that I sometimes feel like I could actually fly. When we car dance to a song playing on the radio on the way to school and I hear her laugh at me, bullets could bounce off my chest. When she tells me she loves me or reaches out to hold my hand (in front of her friends or anyone else), my heart swells to twice its size, and I feel more powerful than a locomotive.
In short, my daughter’s love transforms me into Superman. She takes the ordinary, every day “Clark Kent” type of man I am, and she makes me into something better than I was (or could have ever been) before she first entered my life. She is the yellow sun in my universe that grants me the special powers I need to be her father–to love her and protect her with my very life.
Unfortunately, that same sweet girl who grants me the powers is also the one who turns into my arch nemesis!
Now, many of you out there are wondering WTH? But let me see if I can explain.
If you’re a parent (and I know you’re out there because I can hear you sighing in frustration), there are times when these precious little people in our lives, who are typically our brightest joys, can transform into creatures any good superhero must battle.
One popular villain they can become, for instance, is Bizarro. You see, Bizarro was the villain who came from a world that was the complete opposite of Superman. Sometimes that is exactly what our children become–our polar opposites. Where we are industrious, logical, and rational beings, they have the tendency to attack us with moments of absolute sloth, idiocy, and irrationality that threatens the very fabric of our universe.
We fly into the fray, hoping to alleviate the situation with words of encouragement, motivation, and logic that would typically solve any problem in the rational Superman world. But in the Bizarro world of our children, words of encouragement become criticism, motivation transforms into nitpicking, and logic is, well, meaningless. They bat us aside with a roll of the eyes, and once those eyes roll, the gloves are off. And it’s time for yet another Superman vs. Bizarro battle!
As difficult as Bizarro is to deal with, he pales in comparison to when our children become Braniac. For Superman, Brainiac is an extraterrestrial cyborg of artificial intelligence capable of using his superior knowledge to lay waste not only to the beloved man in red and blue but also to the planet. How many of you have had a child who believed she/he suddenly developed an intelligence to rival your own? They have all the right answers. They know exactly what the world expects from them, and we know nothing. No, that’s too much. We are simply drooling idiots stealing precious air away from our shrewd children. When Brainiac rears her ugly head, spouting off exactly how smart she is, it’s time for Superman to use his super breath to freeze her up and shut her down.
When our children become the villain known as The Parasite, it is one of the most draining (pun intended) battles of the season. The super villain Parasite steals the energy and powers of Superman. Our children often do the same to us. We come home already exhausted from a long day of work that we barely have enough energy to uncork the first bottle of wine when our children descend upon us. They have school supplies that must be picked up, they have an assignment they need help with, there’s a surprise dance rehearsal they are now late for, or they forgot something at school that they need right now.
And like the good superheroes we are, we give them what little reserves we have, we fulfill the requests that parents must fulfill, but when we ask them to take out the garbage, or wash dishes, or pick up their own clothes, they are too busy or too tired. They have sapped all our strength, left us with nothing, and then have the audacity to say they are tired and too busy, while they are dancing in their rooms listening to music on the iPods we purchased for them. At those times, The Parasite finds himself caught in a swirling tornado as Superman suddenly finds the energy needed to run circles around the energy stealer and take back everything they took from us. At least until they can appreciate it later.
Now, I’m hoping that many of you parents out there know exactly what I’m talking about. There must be Wonder Women out there using their lassoes of truth to cut through the lies their children spout. I’m sure there are even Batmen, who try to stay one step ahead of their very clever children who attempt to outwit them at every turn.
I write this for you, for all parents who wage into battle every day. You are not alone! I feel your pain, and I too fight the good fight. While I love my child, and I know you other parental superheroes out there love yours, we have to don our costumes and do battle. It’s for their sakes as much as ours.