By Maisha Maurant
Tuesday was Superhero Day, a time to show love to our favorites from the old-school comics, graphic novels, the small screen and the big screen. This year, it happened to coincide with the one-year anniversary of “Avengers: Endgame,” the finale of the Marvel film saga.
Seeing both celebrated on social media made me think of a text I got from my sister Dara a year ago.
“Who’s the ninja in Avengers?”
Huh? I text back, “There isn’t a ninja.”
“Clint! Hawkeye.” I respond.
She’s trying to make sense of “Endgame.” Hawkeye is a marksman who uses a bow and arrow. But, to be fair, his costume did make him look like a ninja.
I’m a Marvel fan. My sister only got drawn into the franchise by my then 8-year-old nephew and “Black Panther.” Dara would rather read a book than watch a TV show or catch a movie.
That led to me to catching her up on 10 years of Marvel movies via text.
“Who is Tessa Thomas?” Valkyrie from Thor’s world. “Clint and Black Widow are getting the darkness stone?” The Soul Stone. “Yup. Who is the long-haired guy?” Loki? Oh, Bucky. He’s also known as Winter Soldier or White Wolf. He’s Captain America’s best friend and becomes Captain America in the comics.
She asks me about several other characters. She recognizes the actors but knows nothing about their characters’ backstories.
“Wow, it’s a whole world,” she finally texts. I crack up. She’s in a select group who have managed to completely avoid all things Marvel.
It’s one of my favorite sister moments because texting a whole conversation about a movie is so us. We often have a hard time catching up with each other to talk over the phone. So texting has become a lifeline for staying in touch.
I live in Detroit, and Dara lives in Maryland with my brother-in-law and two nephews. The last few years have been hectic. We haven’t had a lot of one-on-one time as we’ve juggled jobs, grad school, husband and kids, board/sorority/mentoring and other responsibilities.
And, now, we’re dealing with the way the coronavirus has changed our lives. She’s an OB-GYN working long shifts under extreme circumstances like so many others on the frontlines of this fight. I’ve been working in HR at a health system, spending the last few weeks focused on helping employees get through this crisis.
So, we’re still texting – and emailing and finding a few minutes for calls. But we touch base more frequently. It’s a mixture of normal and not. We regularly commiserate about how we wish we could ground our parents to keep them inside. We’re editing essay drafts for my 15-year-old nephew’s leadership academy application. I share disappointment about my planned culture and engagement work that won’t get done this year. She tries to help me understand the Common Core.
We still also exchange book recommendations and pictures of shoes, as well as debate who’s going to win music battles on Instagram Live.
But, instead of being frustrated by not having more time with my sister, I’ve come to really appreciate our bits of conversation. I am so thankful that our current technology gives so many ways to connect with the people we love.
As I’m finishing this, she emails me after reading the first draft. “So cute! I didn’t know another Marvel movie was coming out” with the shrug emoji. Lol! That’s my sister.
I send her a list of the upcoming movies. Fortunately, I’ve got time to get her ready before Marvel revs up again.
After a long career in communications, Maisha Maurant has shifted her focus to organizational change, employee engagement and workplace culture. She was most recently Culture & Engagement manager at a health care system. She first met George at a journalism job fair in Detroit. He selected her as a summer intern at The Oregonian, and she promptly fell in love with the Pacific Northwest.
Tomorrow: George Rede | Finding community in these unsettling times