The Power Of My Mom’s CapesPosted: April 1, 2011
I went into my son’s room the other day. It is kind of quiet in there, what with the away at school thing we have going on. I just like going in there. Hooked on the back of the door are three little kid sized capes.
My Mom’s Capes
My mother can make anything. She has always been that sort, always will be. If you give her two things, she will make a third whose function is barely related to the original. Her creative ability is unrivaled. This ability was a real help when I was very young.
My parents and I lived in a tenement apartment, two floors above my grandparents, in Hoboken, NJ. My folks were young and struggling to get their feet under them; there wasn’t a lot of money coming in. Options for getting me outside were pretty limited. It was a tough spot to be in with a little boy who wanted to run and play. My mom’s creative ability saved the day by keeping me busy and growing despite the situation.
When she saw that I loved watching the scuba divers on a Jacques Cousteau television special, my mother made me a pair of swim fins out of foam rubber. Those fins wouldn’t have done me any good in the ocean. But I could wear them when I jumped into the living room sea from my couch boat and have all kinds of adventures, just like the guys on TV.
My mother also mastered cape making. If I wanted to become Batman or Superman, she’d make that happen with a towel or pillowcase and a safety-pin. With my plaid cape, there was nothing I could not take on. Those capes helped me build confidence.
The Second Generation Of Capes
Over the years, Mom’s cape making technique became more advanced. The new generation never wore heavy pillowcase capes. She started making her capes with new materials that would flutter in the wind behind a running grandson.
There’s nothing more humiliating to a superhero than to have to go to someone to help pin his cape on. Realizing that, she updated her 1960’s design with adjustable Velcro neck bands so little hands could put a cape on without assistance. Safety pin tragedies became a thing of the past.
One of my favorite photos of my son shows him with one of Mom’s capes on. He is about three years old in the picture. Everything about him says this is a little boy ready to take on the world – the confident look on his face, the gleam in his eye, and his body language.
That little boy was ready. He isn’t three anymore, he is on his own at school. Tests and papers come up and he knocks them down. His grades are strong. My worries about how he’d do at this advanced level fade every day. He takes on these challenges with powers far exceeding those of the average college student.
His confidence looks natural on him. Like it belongs there. Like Mom’s capes.