Who knew? The official Batman Day is September 19th. Batman has a special place in my heart. My older sister, Debbie, was the Batman of my childhood. I am three years younger, and was relegated to the position of Robin, very enthusiastic and supportive sidekick. In a world where my mother was a slave to “being a lady” and determined that we would be little ladies too, Batman and Robin, meant freedom. On Jericho Beach, at Tatlow Park, and in the backyard, when those towels were tied around our necks, we were invincible. We were wild. We were off singing at the top of our lungs:
Da na na na na nuh,
Da na na na na, nuh,
Sunbathers with freshly applied oil complained to our mother and yelled at us, as we threw up sand, running by, or jumped up on the logs they had claimed as their own. Our path would be diverted, and new archrivals added to the game. Some of my most daring feats and trips to the Emergency Room were in the name of Batman. The ten stitches on my right knee are proof that even superheroes have setbacks to overcome. Some kind of fun!
As a young adult with a preschool son, Batman took on new meaning. Before he could talk, Tyler would fly off the end of the couch with the expectation that his fall would be cushioned or someone would catch him. With the grand discovery of Velcro, I was able to put my mediocre sewing skills to use to create a Halloween Batman cape that immediately became part of became part of his daily attire. The world was full of unknowns but Batman was ready.
At three years of age, I had found the perfect pre-school just half a block from my school. I could drop Tyler off before I went off to teach Kindergarden. I could scoop him after I taught the half day program and let him nap in my classroom as I prepared for the next day. It was perfect. Off I went with my perfect plan and my caped crusader. The owner and head teacher at the Montessori Pre-school was alarmed with Tyler’s “overdeveloped” imagination. I cited research of the benefits. The articles citing the downsides of imagination started to fly in my direction by Day 2. Battle lines were drawn:
Teacher: “Good Morning, Tyler.”
Tyler: “I’m not Tyler. I am Batman!”
Teacher: “You are not Batman. You are Tyler, pretending to be, Batman. Take off your costume and hang it up on your hook.”
The battle lines intensified.
Teacher: Good Morning, Tyler. Now hang up your costume on your hook.”
Tyler: Loud roar of a lion. Well-practiced due to repeated readings of Child’s Play book I’m As Loud As A Lion, As Gentle As A Lamb.”
In under two weeks, Batman had conquered his archenemy and I was looking for other childcare options. Fortunately, Mrs. Durkin and Kiddies Korner Pre-School welcomed Batman, accepted his cape as part of life, and celebrated his imagination. Batman had learned that he had the skills and superpowers to take on any challenge and rein victorious.
In my life, Batman has been a symbol of empowerment and readiness to take on a challenge. You stare down the beast and do battle for justice. Batman Day brings a smile. It is a celebration. I’m adding it to the calendar!