costumes

My Son’s Mask



My son isn't the only Spiderman fan this Purim.

Purim is upon us and as we dig around in our closets for the perfect costume, the one that my son would love to wear the most is Spiderman, for sure.

While the whole superhero obsession is relatively new in our household, it has struck with a vengeance! Spiderman is the hero de jour and my son can happily be found spinning his web and climbing atop all manner of furniture in our house.

The need to summon superpower strength isn’t something that he does only in the privacy of our own home. Tamir is a pretty confident and social child. When he approaches other kids who aren’t interested in playing with him he cops a “meanie” face and often instructs them to “go to jail.” While he does so many things that I love, this set of activities is among my least favorite. Where is my sweet boy who runs toward me asking for a “hug and kiss Ima” anytime I leave the house?

I have to remind myself that Tamir’s need to be strong and in control has to be natural for a 3.5-year-old (I’m relying on my “inner psychologist” for that diagnosis). As he becomes more aware of the world around him and what little control he actually has, his superpowers give him a way to overcome his anxiety.

But this afternoon, the superpowers melted away. While at a Purim carnival, we became separated for a moment and I found him near the balloon vendor, his eyes welled up with tears and a worried look on his face. He found an adult to say, “I can’t find my ima” (the balloon guy mistook “ima” for “elbow” and couldn’t really help much… Note to self: teach my son to refer to me as “mommy” in public). After Tamir found me and said, “I’m okay, Ima,” he was still a little shaken up and wouldn’t leave my side for the rest of the afternoon.

Masks are a funny thing. On the one hand, they project an image of ourselves that we want others to see. On the other hand, they cover up who we really are. Purim is helping me remember to support my son to embrace his innate powers long after his Spiderman mask comes off.

Dasee BerkowitzDasee Berkowitz is an educational consultant, community builder and writer. Her pieces have appeared in Haaretz, the Forward, Kveller, MyJewishLearning and JTA. She currently lives in Jerusalem Israel with her husband and three children.

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