My grandchildren were together recently playing in my living room, and I was watching their antics. Adults can easily forget that we, too, once darted from the couch to wherever we wanted to be in a few short seconds.
There was a day when all of us were able to participate in somersault races across the living room floor. Little bodies are so capable of doing whatever they need to do. There is no slowness or stiffness when you are a child.
The four little cousins were playing hard and discussing their superpowers, and they seemed to know what their individual superpowers were.
One of them looked at me and asked what my superpower was. They stopped their jumping and playing and looked at me. Rather blank looks. They were waiting for Grandma’s answer.
The question seemed to loom in the air – could a grandparent have a superpower? Especially grandmothers.
I thought it would take a while to come up with an answer. My first thought was I am good at tickling. After all, there is an art to the tickle. And a little girl from a big family would know that.
But I passed on giving them the tickle answer and moved on to the real answer.
I told them I have a superpower over four people in my life. When I haven’t seen those four people in a while – I notice they run to me. They hug me. They can’t resist their grandmother. They smile. I feel the spirit of a superpower within me.
Then they move on to their grandfather. And Grandpa has the same power. His grandpa superpower is probably mightier than the grandma superpower. And that’s ok. There is something about grandfathers with their grandchildren.
So they listened to my answer and realized my superpower had something to do with them. And thus they have power over me.
They could choose to withhold their love from their grandparents. They could choose to withhold hugs and kisses. They have the power to stop my superpower – and they told me that. They even suggested they will not be controlled any longer, and it made them laugh.
But it’s not a laughing matter when people who are close to each other decide not to love each other. The day comes when married people can see each other as ordinary. All the marriage problems start to happen, and spouses take each other for granted.
Those who withhold love and hugs and kisses from someone in their life may or may not realize they have stripped their loved one of their superpower. Does the day likely come when they know where the pain in the foot is coming from? Because it has been shot.
Can loving each other be maintained when only one person is towing the line?
On the other hand – our superpowers are put to good use when those in our lives love the way we love them and the way we are happy to see them and spend time with them.
Even if a grandchild stops calling and visiting their grandparents, I imagine the love is still there between the two. A grandchild – who likely already has the phone in their hand – could put in a call and make their grandparent feel that superpower spirit once again.
I wanted to speak with my grandchildren again about the day they were playing in my house. I called Thomas and asked him to remind me what his superpower is – and he said that was easy – it is ‘speed.’ He even spelled it for me and explained he is a super-fast kid. Faster than his mother. Definitely he is faster than his grandmother.
Thomas and I talked about a grandparent’s superpower, and he said he thinks kids should always make sure their grandma and grandpa keep their power.
Then Deano got on the phone, and he said he can get ahold of anyone’s cheeks and make them look chubby. I told him that is quite the superpower.
So I called Paisley who said she can turn into an animal. I asked her how, and she said she just imagines she is an animal – and she is very often an eagle, and she can fly. She agreed it is fun to be able to fly.
My oldest grandson Toby said he has lots of imagined superpowers, but he knows he is good at using drum sticks to make neat sounds come off of a drum.
I told Toby about my superpower over my four grandchildren, and he agreed that grandchildren should always help grandparents maintain their superpower.
Toby asked what Grandpa’s power would be, and we decided Grandpa can take pieces of wood into his work-shop and make the wood look like a piece of furniture or a beautiful ornament. And Grandpa can make fish bite. He can make logs burn when he builds his campfires. And he can make sugar corn in a kettle on the stove-top. It seems Grandpa Oxender has many superpowers.
Toby and I laughed at Deano’s ability to make someone else’s cheeks look chubby – and Toby thought it was one of the best superpowers there ever could be. We grandparents may no longer be able to join in the somersault races – but the chubby-cheek superpower – we can do it.
The Superpower Disclaimer: If you are a grand-parent, in all probability, you should not attempt a test somersault. You could be reminded of muscles you forgot existed. You could even break a bone.
You are, however, strong enough to pinch cheeks and hug and love on the children in your life.
Never let your God-given superpowers fade away – for as you are growing old, the children in your life will visit – and they will expect a batch of sugar corn – and you better remember how to get it done. They might want to build a campfire or see how the fish are biting in the lakes nearby.
The children in our lives will someday learn what we already know – a wonderful life is built with sacrifice and devotion and laughter and lots of patience. If you teach them how to fish when they are little – someday they will take you fishing when you are little.