I was sitting outside with my kiddos before the weather got chilly and realized something profound: I’m still me.
Well, who else would you be, Laura?
Bear with me.
In spite of everything – kids, marriage, general-lame-adulthood, struggles, hurts, etc., etc. after all of it – there are some things that remain. This is especially surprising in light of becoming a parent, and why I have realized that being a parent is much like being a superhero.
No, no, no. Not how you think. Not in the “Super Mom” or “Super Dad” kind of way. Sure, you and I know a “Super Mom” or whatever, but, at best we are inspired by Super Mom and, at worst, we hope she trips on her perfectly pressed, hand-sewn cape. Let’s just be real here. Point being, that’s not the kind of “Super” I’m talking about.
So, what am I talking about?
1. The Radioactive Spider
The origin story of all great Supers climaxes with that moment, the moment when they go from average to…different. More than they were. They aren’t quite super yet, but they are changed forever. Peter Parker is bitten by the radioactive spider. Kal-El is sent as a little baby to planet earth and saved by a kindly childless couple. Steve Rogers’ admittance into the Rebirth program. For parents, it’s the moment you look down at that little wiggling, wailing, kinda-sticky-yet-adorable person, and YOU HAVE TO KEEP IT ALIVE. Consider yourself bitten.
2. Super Powers
Leap tall buildings in a single bound? Have lots and lots and LOTS of money? (I mean, that is Batman’s real power, right?) I wish! Sure, I can’t fly an invisible jet, but I can do with insanely low amounts of sleep, be steadfast and, dare I say, compassionate at the sight, smell, touch (yep.) of any and all bodily fluids. I can heal wounds with kisses and right wrongs with tickles. All I need is super speed to get my house more than and -ish level of clean and I would be all set. …or that lots and lots of money thing. That would also work.
3. A Nemesis
No. It’s not the kids. Whereas the X-Men had Magneto, Super Man had Lex Luther, most parents have themselves as a nemesis. Chill. This isn’t turning into an after-school special. It’s just true. I give myself more grief than anyone else. Sure, I might imagine that Mrs. So-and-So thinks I’m a bad mom, but really, that’s usually just me thinking I’m a bad mom. There’s a version of us, the “dark” version if you will, that likes to tell us all the things we’re doing wrong. I’m too lame or too lazy to battle anyone else. I think that also makes us Super Villains. Nice.
As I mentioned before, we have to keep people alive here. As much as we might like to take the day off, Lois Lane keeps getting herself into some kind of trouble over and over and over. Let’s face it, the people who lived in Gotham should have just moved. I mean, really. But, just like our kiddos, they stay right where they are. Sometimes the work is thankless. Sometimes they even cry-out against us, but we still love ’em. Silly little people.
5. The Secret Identity
The thing that only a few people see and really know. Super Man, Spider Man, Batman, Even sometimes Super Mom – they amaze us, they inspire us and call us to something higher, but Clark Kent, Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne? We love them. We identify with them. We know that Clark Kent isn’t really Super Man, but Super Man is really Clark Kent. Deep right??
This is the source of my epiphany. In spite of the incredible event of having a child, we are still us. I am still me. My identity doesn’t come from being bit by a radioactive spider or baby? (I think my metaphors are getting confused).
My identity comes from being reborn as a child of God.
And obviously, my identity in Christ isn’t a secret in the classic sense, because… well… I’ve just told you about it. However, it doesn’t go down to the very core of my being.
So much of what I do revolves around my children these days. But who am I really? Who drives what I do? Who or what is shaping the choices I make? Being a Super Hero is what a secret identity does. The heart of the Super Hero is the Secret Identity.
When the job of Super Man is finished (even though it seems like it never will be), Clark Kent remains.
When my job raising my children is done (even though it seems like it never will be), my identity in Christ remains.
I hope who I am in Him shapes the things I do with my kids now. I hope and strive for it to shape everything I do now, because when the job of my life is finished, He will remain, and, more than anything, I want to have been true to Him all the way to the end.