Sunday, May 6, 2012


    When you were little, you walked towards me pulling your tiny toy car behind you.  The look on your silvery gaze spoke of a vast disappointment as you handed me one of the wheels.  In your own little language, which I am sure is the language spoken in Heaven, you conveyed to me the situation.  Your tiny hands gesticulated and pointed.  I obliged by nodding and telling you that I knew what you were talking about.
    I picked up the wheel and easily popped it back on its plastic axle and wa la!  The toy car was fixed!
    The grin on your little face was wide from ear to ear.  You threw your leg over the seat and sat, keeping careful eye on the once broken wheel now back in place.  As you pushed off to meet the seemingly endless carpeted road to the dining room, you threw me a look over you shoulder and I knew that behind the grateful grin was a healthy dose of unabashed admiration.  I was your hero.
    It was then that I vividly recalled watching this man bite his lip and expertly use a myriad of tools to fix anything that dared break around him.  There was nothing he could not fix, from a toy, to plumbing, to building furniture for the house, to even help me mend my broken heart as life ensured I received the required amount of hard knocks.  Through it all, my dad was my hero.  He is still me hero.
    He has the answer for everything, hardly ever admitting and reluctantly so, that he might not know something.  That's only a temporary condition.  He'll go to any length to find that elusive answer and vanquish once more the dragon of ignorance.  That's heroic in itself.
    When I was growing up, my father, your grandfather was larger than life.  He could make me laugh until my belly hurt.  He projected an aura of fun and he filled television-less afternoons with amusing stories of his youth.  I can't say that I have ever been bored around him.
    He was my strength when I cried, he was my fountain of knowledge when I could not find the answer, he was my shield when I felt sick, he was more than SuperDad.
    And yet, like it happens in all of our lives, the day came when he unknowingly gave me a gift. 
    No gift had ever been more alarming, or more intricately involved with the shaping of my future.  The gift consisted of something perhaps trivial and unexpected, it consisted of tears. 
    Although the reason escapes me, and it may be something I will never know about, I saw my dad cry tears of pain, tears of sorrow.  It had to be the scariest moment of my life but there it was at last.  Dad was just as human as I was. 
    Suddenly I did not see the Super Hero-Sage-Teacher-Councilor-Shield.  I saw beyond that and discovered a man behind the title.  I realized at that moment that my dad was first a boy, who endured much and one day found himself a husband and a father, maturing into the provider and hero that I've come to know.
    From that point on, our conversations slowly developed into discussions on level ground.  No longer teacher and pupil but man to man, especially once you came along and made me a father..
    I often say that if someday you speak of me just a fraction of the way I speak about Dad, I'll be filled with a sense of great pride and accomplishment, and I'll welcome my golden years with a fond smile. 
    You saw in me the SuperDad the day I fixed the wheel of your little toy car.  You may see in me the SuperDad as I hold you when you're sad, as I find an answer to your questions, as I protect you while you're small.  But as we grow together, you up and myself old, you will also one day see that I'm just human as you are, prone to the fears and insecurities that you will have to overcome through the journey of your life.
   One day, and I hope it's a long, long way from today, we will sit at the table and speak as equals.  We may share conversations about the roughness of the path of life, each of us with our own experiences of triumphs and defeats.  But until then, I will gratefully glow in the aftermath of those thankful gazes as another toy is fixed, another story is read, another day is saved by your SuperDad.
   Love you always,

1 comment:

  1. When the person we idolize allows us to see their vulnerable side, that is the most heroic act of all. It is not always easy to show our flaws, especially when we know that someone that really admires us is watching. It takes great strength to put ego aside. Kudos to your Dad.
    What a beautiful letter to your daughter. This is sure to be a gift she will cherish as she grows older, and it will be a source of comfort when she becomes a parent and questions how she's we all do from time to time.