When I was seven years old, we had a gazebo in our back yard. Tree branches hung over the roof low enough for me to climb to the top. One day, I mustered the courage to make the ascent. Once I arrived, I felt I had reached superhero status – perched atop the roof of a skyscraper as the perfect embodiment of Superman, Batman, and Spiderman trapped in the chubby body of a middle eastern boy.
I looked to the ground, then to the sky, then to the ground. I could travel back to humanity through mere mortal means, or I could implement my newfound imagined abilities and take the audacious jump before me.
I chose the latter.
It ended poorly.
Thankfully, my mom heard my cries for help and came to bandage my wounds. Then, to my surprise, she picked me, placed me back atop the gazebo, and told me to jump again.
I had always thought of my mother as slightly kooky, but this request had moved her to utterly insane. In my toddler wisdom, I declined the ludicrous request.
She assured me that I would not hit the ground if I tried again. It would be different this time. When I asked what gave her such confidence, she simply told me to trust her.
So, I did what any self-respecting boy would do at that point. I closed my eyes, opened them again for a moment, saw my mother give me a nod, and then leapt for the heavens.
This time, rather than falling to the ground, I began to fly through the air. My super powers had kicked into full swing. I never touched the ground as my 5’ 3” middle eastern mother whooshed my hefty body through the backyard, laughing and making the best sound effects she could.
I learned an important lesson that day. I can’t fly alone.
And, neither can you.