For many young boys, our fathers are our first heroes; they are our first Superman. We bend our backs, waaaay back, to look up at the mountain of a superman we call Daddy. We run around the house in their size 11 shoes, tripping over our own small feet constantly yet rise to the challenge with the hope that one day we can fill them. They run around the house with us on their shoulders and we believe we are flying. When he is around we feel invincible and safe. For me, I look at old family albums and press releases and think WOW – that is my dad! We watch Dads work hard, never complaining, never seeming too tired to throw a football, or play a game of hand ball. Sometimes we just relax and throw a fishing pole in the water and say nothing at all.
My dad introduced me to other undefeated former football supermen who won 47 games straight and I feel a part of that super team. Our family attends games where 85,000 adoring fans yell and scream. Fifty years later they still line up to shake the superman’s hand.
We grow a little older and a career takes more of our dad’s time. We discover girls and our attention moves as well. But often I stop to recall a moment of the past that this superman had made an indelible impression upon me. I smile and sometimes even well up a tear or two.
We too, become a father and we want to pass down those super hero traits that this man has taught us. We now know what it means to be a superhero to someone else. He cradles his grandchild so gently in his superman arms that you forget how strong he once was.
Soon years begin to fly by, but we never forget the man, the father, that superman. His super hero team members begin to pass. My super hero lost his sense of smell and his vision and hearing also fade. He loses his strength and his bulk, and moves much slower than before. His skin looks different; wrinkled, blotched, and dry. But no matter, he is still the man of steel in this son’s eye. Should my superman ever need a shoulder or a hand, this son, this man, is now ready to fill those shoes.
For a superman will never truly die. His power, his legacy, his memory now in his son lives.
Happy 53rd Father’s and Super Hero’s Day to my dad – Wayne Greenlee #71.