"I know why I go to therapy, momma," you told me one day when you were three. "It's so I can be a superhero when I grow up and save the world." I smiled.
You had never asked me why a therapist visited you at school but didn't visit other kids. Not once did you question why you went to a therapy center and your sister did not. For you, therapy had been a part of every day life since you were an infant. You had no need for questions. You had the answers. Therapy was helping you grow into a superhero, and I never told you otherwise.
Recently, you confided in me. "Momma," you said, "I don't think my therapy is working." There was an unusual urgency and concern in your voice. "I don't have any superpowers yet. I can't fly or become invisible. I don't read minds. And I'm not super strong." You paused and took a deep breath. "I don't think I'm going to save the world," you whispered apologetically.
I scooped you up in my arms, and I tried to tell you about all the awesome powers you have gained because of therapy. I wanted you to know that the first steps you took were far more inspiring and uplifting than flying could ever be. I wanted you to understand that learning to hold a pencil and writing your letters and reading your name was just as big of an accomplishment as being able to read minds. I needed you to know that just being you was more than enough.
I explained to you that superheroes come in all shapes and sizes. You nodded when I said that the best superheroes often look like everyday people. "And their superpowers aren't necessarily invisibility and flying," I said. "Instead, they have the power to be kind, to help others, and to never give up -- no matter how hard something might be." You gave me a hug, and I wondered if my words really had any weight.
Until yesterday, when I walked into your classroom and you grabbed me by the hand and walked me over to a paper all about YOU that was displayed on the wall. It read: "When I grow up, I want to...feed homeless and sick people."
You beamed with pride, stood tall, looked me in the eyes and said, "Momma, this is my superpower. I'm gonna save the world."
I squeezed your hand a little tighter. "Yes, you will," I replied. And my heart was happy for everyday superheroes -- like you -- who come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes with all sorts of different powers and abilities.