I shimmied into the metallic red and gold spandex costume in the restaurant bathroom (no phone booth available), reaching around and zipping it up awkwardly. I grabbed my purse and opened the door with a deep exhale. “I hope this makes them happy,” I thought.
Out of the men’s room rumbled my little Spiderman and Iron Man. “Hey guys!” I exclaimed. “We match, Mama!” my six-year-old Iron Man declared.
At this moment, the patrons of The Backyard in New Orleans paused briefly with their burgers in mid-air and took in the sight of our Marvel family. My husband, in his full Wolverine attire, burst into the dining room, brandishing his synthetic claws. A few people gave us thumbs up, others just confused stares. And, we were off to the Smoothie King Center.
I’m usually not the fun parent. I’m not really goofy, and I don’t love being embarrassed. I’ve always picked pretty costumes when I dressed up, not silly ones. I truly admire women who can be ridiculous and laugh at themselves, i.e. all my SNL heroes. For my boys, though, I am working on it. And this opportunity, though my husband’s idea, was a great chance to go all out just to see huge smiles on their little faces.
This dress up extravaganza all started when we were so excited to get our family tickets to see Marvel Universe Live in New Orleans. I thought it would be great to get Marvel t-shirts for the day. My husband, the fun one, took it a step further and brought up the full costumes. I hemmed and hawed to get out of it. I offered up that it would be too hot (late June in Nola is no joke). I argued that the boys would get tired of wearing them. No luck. I swallowed my pride and vanity, and agreed to get the costumes. For all of us. We traipsed around Party Time for more than an hour, trying on costumes and accessories before we landed on our superheroes for the day. Our sons changed into them that very night to watch Marvel cartoons on the eve of the big show.
Upon entering the Smoothie King Center, the looks started. But here’s the thing, everyone loved it. We got applause, thumbs up, and even the occasional, “Y’all are great parents.” The boys were so proud to have Wolverine and Iron Woman (I guess that’s what I was) as their parents. My husband and the boys posed with strangers for pictures multiple times.
The actual show was also incredible and surpassed our expectations. If you can imagine a live Avengers play plus some Cirque du Soleil and lots of fireworks, that was the show. Intense motorcycle stunts, close fight sequences, witty dialogue, and countless explosions had us locked in. We were comfortable and cozy in the chilly Smoothie King Center because we were covered head to toe in our costumes. One moment that made the whole experience worth it was when the superhero actors waved at the audience during the finale. Iron Man was right in front of us and saluted my six-year-old Mini Iron Man. He just about lost his mind. “Mom! He saluted me!” he said over and over.
The lesson I learned from being a Marvel Mom for a day was to take risks for my boys. They love when I do something unexpected and join them in an adventure. We can all do that every once in a while, and the payoff, their huge shining smiles, is so worth it.