I am wrenching on a door with a screwdriver, drill, and whatever tools I've slopped together from a dusty box in the laundry room -- carving out enough pineboard to eventually dislodge the handle from its stuck spot. I am sweating a little, cursing under my breath, and getting splinters in my knees as the wood comes out in microbits. She is quiet as a churchmouse, sitting on a stool across the hall, watching my folly.
"Mama, are there any Supermans around?"
She, of course, is hoping someone will come save us from this predicament -- terrible in its tired moment, but overall, not that big a deal. At least that's what I decide at that precise moment -- where before I was cursing her and me and the whole world for the fact that this four year old hellion decided to lock my bedroom door with no one in it -- only my phone, car keys, and wallet taking up space behind the pile of pine. But she utters those adorable words and I realize this is a teachable moment -- one of those times I could show her how weak I am by continuing to curse her, and wishing for Someone Else to come save us...
Or I could show her that her tool-sorry mama can do anything. And when she grows up, that she can do anything too. I don't think this moment of frustration and despair is my Kryptonite. It better not be, else all the worse things to come are gonna be damn hard.
So I tell her "no, no Supermans are coming today, love... but it's ok because we can do this ourselves." No Supermans show up, but the door gets opened eventually, and ugly-ly.
She tells me a little mouse locked the door.