Should Superheroes Check the Mail?
I was recently in a parking lot at a local super market and overheard a mother arguing with her little boy about taking off his Batman mask before going into the store. The boy was staunchly pro-mask. “But it gives me powers, mom! I can see better with it on!” The mother was anti-mask — “You canNOT wear that mask inside the grocery store!”
I didn’t think much of it until a few days later when my son asked to join me on my jaunt down the hill to get the mail. But before we could go, he dug into his dress-up cubbies furiously — digging, throwing masks and capes over his head and finally exclaiming “Found it!”
Spidey mask, suit and gloves in hand, he began to gear up. “You’re wearing that to check the mail?” I asked him. As soon as the words floated from my lips, I reconnected to the woman in the parking lot trying to be appropriate. It’s good to be appropriate. But in that moment, I decided to put “appropriate” aside and let my boy spread the wings of his imagination. Let Spidey check the mail. On the way down the hill, we saw one of our neighbors. She is wonderful and playful. “Oh my! It’s Spiderman!” She exclaimed. Even through his mask I could detect a wide smile. Maybe there should be, could be a little more room to let kids be kids and not worry so much about what they wear or if they can read Hemmingway before kindergarten. Maybe there is a way to be a disciplined parent and still relax the rules to let our children be kids — free, happy, imaginative kids spreading their wings and flying to the mailbox.
Autumn Andrade-de León