Super Heroic Dad Moments Gone Awry
I always wanted to be my family’s hero. You know, Mr. Incredible…able to hear their slightest cry for help and fly with the speed of light to save them from injustice and unnecessary pain…to break unbendable bars of iron and release them from the prison cells that limit their dreams…to stop speeding bullets aimed at crippling their efforts to grow. Then, the reality of family life kicked in. I experienced a few Super Hero Dad moments gone awry and realized my dreams were a bit grandiose.
One of the first hints of my grandiosity came when my oldest daughter was a toddler. She could run, but she had not learned the dangers of running off a ledge at any height. So, when I sat her on our bed, she immediately stood up and started running for the edge of the bed farthest away from me. I knew she would fall off the edge of the bed; no, I knew she would dive off the bed, laughing until she crashed, face first, onto the floor. Super Dad had to save her from sure disaster. I dove across the bed with the speed of Flash. Like Mr. Fantastic, I reached over the bed. With a final heroic effort, I stretched out my arm and, with the strength of ten men, caught her in mid-air just as she dove off the bed. With a sigh of relief and great agility, I began to lift her to safety…only to watch her flip over my arm and crash onto the floor…thud, flat on her back. As I ran around the bed to pick up my crying daughter, I realized that I had not become the superhero I had hoped for.
On another occasion, I held my barely 2-year-old daughter (youngest daughter) tenderly in my arms, carefully guarding her as prepared to take her downstairs. Like Captain America I kept her safe from any harm that might befall her. With great confidence, I stepped onto the first step…and missed. As I began to fall, I called forth an invisible force field to protect her; and, with the genius of Professor X, I calculated the angle of my descent and the movement needed to save my daughter from the fate of falling with me. Calculations complete, I twisted around like Elastigirl and placed her gently on the top step before continuing my own descent down the stairs. Thump, thump, thump…my hip and right side bounce off each step. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), my calculations were slightly off kilter and my daughter missed the top step as well. Thump, thump, thump…she followed me down the stairs, her “gluteus maximus” bouncing off each step with only my hand serving as a cushion between her and the step. When we reached the bottom, she smiled and looked at me as though she wanted to go for another ride. I was not hurt, except for my superhero pride. Another failed attempt for Superhero Dad status.
One last example of my superhero abilities… I could not find the peanut butter. Every super hero needs their equivalent to Popeye’s spinach and I couldn’t find mine. I called for my wife, telling her we were out of peanut butter. She didn’t believe me and told me where to look. Using my x-ray vision, I scanned the cupboards…nope, no peanut butter. I called to my wife again, accusing her of using a lead shield to hide my treasured peanut butter from my x-ray vision. Slowly, she sauntered into the room. Doesn’t she know I have heroic actions to take, no time for sauntering? Calmly, she moved a can of soup aside to reveal (tu-dah) peanut butter. Oh, the dastardly plans of those villains. How does she do it? (Really, she is an amazingly gracious woman. I don’t know how she puts up with my “temporary” blindness.) Once again, my superhero status takes a nose dive and I’m just a regular guy, more like Clark Kent than Superman.
Alas, I have to accept the fact that I will never be the superhero I dream of. I cannot leap tall buildings, run at the speed of light, deflect bullets with my hand, or bend iron bars. I’m just a regular guy who loves my family. Although…a couple months ago, I asked my family what they think I find most important. “In your perception,” I asked, “what do I value most?” Their answer…”God and family.” They knew. My highest priority, the “things” I value most are not things at all, but people. They knew that they were more important to me than anything else in this world, second only to God. At that moment, I felt like a superhero once again.