Since December, we have known Daniel as Spider-Man. I'm not sure when it began - maybe it was when we discovered Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends or the 1967 cartoon version of Spider-Man on Netflix.
One day he put on Lee's Spider-Man costume and never took it off.
Is he strong? Listen bud - He's got radioactive blood. Can he swing from a thread? Take a look overhead. Hey there! There goes the Spiderman.
After watching him trip and fall over the too-long legs and constantly having to roll up the arms, I got online and ordered a costume in Daniel's size. The moment the mailman delivered it, we ripped open the package. He was practically vibrating with excitement as he slipped on his new identity. When we got him a "web shooter" for Christmas, the ensemble was complete.
Now there are only three times Daniel isn't Spider-Man: when the costume is being washed (only when absolutely necessary), when he goes to church (they have one in the Sunday school room that he immediately slips on when he arrives), or when he's at another formal event like a funeral. (He wore his costume on the way to the funeral, we changed him in the car, and we changed him back into the costume on the way home.)
Otherwise He. Is. Spider-Man. At the grocery store. In the backyard. At the playground. In bed. Walking around town. At Biltmore. In the car. Picking up Lee from Farm Class. At friends' houses. Under a coat.
It's been mended again and again. Despite washing it on delicate and hanging it to dry, it's showing signs of wear. There's the hole he cut as an experiment (and regretted deeply). There's the deflated muscles, the not-so-sticky-any-more velcro, and the unraveling edges.
Daniel is That Kid. He dares to be different. He's confident and fun. People smile in his presence. He's strong, daring, and bold. He's so adorable it makes my teeth hurt.
The stuff of superheroes.
Spiderman, Spiderman, Friendly neighborhood Spiderman. Wealth and fame, he's ignored. Action is his reward. To him, life is a great big bang-up. Wherever there's a hang-up, you'll find the Spiderman!
When I'm too old to remember the tantrums and the difficulty teaching him about self-control, when I'm too old to remember the sibling warfare, when I'm too old to remember moments of huddling in the corner praying for patience -- I will remember Daniel as Spider-Man.
In my Forever Memory, Daniel will be lying in his bed sound asleep, warm in his Spider-Man costume, wearing his Spidey half mask that still allows him room to suck on his pacifier.
In my Forever Memory, Daniel is -- just as he believes. Daniel is Spider-Man.