- Posted May 29, 2013 by
Vero Beach, Florida
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Super Mamma and Boy Wonder
My search for the perfect female super hero started with five simple words: “How hard could it be?”
Mary Poppins was my first inspiration. I had finished watching the Disney feature on a Sunday night. The next day I was determined to take flight. Positioned perfectly, I stepped off our back deck in Centerville, Ohio. I held the umbrella upright and outward. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and envisioned flying! I would go on to try again and again. Oh how I wanted to take flight like she did - so effortlessly.
My two oldest brothers and their neighborhood friends squelched my dreams. Their mockery drove me to find comfort in the arms of my mother. As I sobbed, she calmed me, and told me of a movement that was underway. “It will bring women opportunities to do and to become anything they want,” she said, “Including how to become a more daring super hero!” Intrigued, I heard the words that would become part of our nation’s history, “The Women’s Movement.”
Gloria Steinem was my mother’s hero during the early 1970’s. In 1972 our house was covered in Ms. Magazines. At about that same time another one of my mother’s hero’s was influencing our home. Helen Reddy’s, “I Am Woman,” was my mother’s battle cry. If I close my eyes tight, I can still hear her sing it after her nightly double martini’s with my father.
The song was the first Billboard chart topper to be penned by an Australian. Reddy’s acceptance comment stirred a great debate at our house: “Thank you God! Because SHE makes everything possible!” I don’t think there was enough alcohol during my parent’s cocktail hour to bring resolution to that one!
My search for a replacement for Mary Poppins took a backseat until 1975.
At long last, I thought I found the role model who embodied what my mother would say to me on a daily basis, “You are unstoppable and fearless! You can do or be anyone or anything you want to be! Only your fears can stop you!”
Jamie Sommers, the main character of the, “The Bionic Woman,” was my fourth grade hero! I identified with her love for tennis. I wanted to be her! She had the ability to hear conversations from far away. Her bionic arm and legs made her a match to her heart throb, Steve Austin.
I remember visualizing the ability to hear what boys were saying. I wanted to be able to kick _ss too! Wow!
Alas, the influence of my three brothers would challenge me to look for a new super hero.
Lynda Carter, the star of “The New Adventures of Wonder Woman “replaced Jamie in 1976. Ok, so my Jamie addiction was short lived. But Wonder Woman had the hair, the legs, the cape and those boots! Wow! She was powerful, beautiful and never broke a sweat! It was no surprise that Lynda Carter would go on to land cosmetic contracts. Who wouldn’t want to be that athletic and never have your mascara run!
I would go on to earn varsity letters in high school and in college. I would call upon my Wonder Woman powers when my college field hockey team played Notre Dame. My prayer went like this, “Dear Lord, please hear this now. I have good check bones, nice skin and a willingness to help others. Please don’t let these He-Women crush me. P.S. I know I can use those boots and cape to do good for others…can you spare me?”
I ran a lot that day. I survived and my prayers would later be answered in my professional career. Thank you Jesus!
It would be years later that my brothers would confess that it was Lynda Carter’s bustier that riveted their attention and squelched additional teasing of my new found Wonder Woman obsession.
Wonder Woman’s tenure as my super hero idol began to fade in the year of 1978. A new hero was about to emerge.
In 1979, Princess Leia, Carrie Fischer’s alter ego, in the Star Wars movies was emerging. It’s funny that at about that same time my mother gave me the latest Wayne Dyer Book, “The Sky is the Limit.” Yeah, how many kids at Centerville High were bragging that they had received the latest self help book for their 15th birthday?
Remember this was the same woman who sent me to Albion College with the book, “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” Let me tell you that living in a co-ed dorm, that book was of great curiosity and interest to all my friends - both female and male!
You see, I think my mother was ahead of her time. I don’t think she had any of these wonderful science fiction role models. Perhaps that was her legacy for her daughter?
My mother has been gone for over fourteen years. However, her influence and her encouragement of my interest of super heroes remains strong.
“How hard could it be?” has and will remain my mantra through career changes and advocating for my son who has special needs.
By the way, at the age of 45, I got my nerve up. I finally bought the Super (Mommy/Hero) Girl costume. It matches my son’s suit! I gotta tell you, I wish that I had done it sooner.
When you put on that cape and those boots, you say to yourself, “How hard could it be?”
Zoooommmmm! I am off to advocate for my son and for the children of our community! Recently, I took up running and doing triathlons to benefit research for Autism Spectrum Disorders. I am unstoppable and fearless! I AM Wonder Woman!
You can do it too! Just pick your own boots and cape! I promise that you will feel amazing!