Declan and I were playing yesterday and he pretended that one of his toys was going to fall. I reached out and caught it and told him that it was safe. He immediately got off of his chair and gave me a hug and told me that I was his hero. Aside from the obvious dust I had in my eye it got me to thinking. What happened to our heroes from when we were young?
Most kids see their Fathers as a hero when they are young. I was certainly no exception. My dad was big, strong, rode a motorcycle and could fix pretty much anything. I wanted to be just like him in so many ways. I am pretty sure the only reason that I took machine shop or welding was so that we had something to speak about.
When I hit my 20's things changed. I started to see my Father in a different light. I started to see where he was vulnerable, when he was being stubborn, or when he was just plain wrong. That doesn't mean that I didn't still see him as one of my heroes, it just meant that instead of the infallible superhero he was my Dad.
For better or worse that is how I see him now. I see the man who when I graduated grade 8 drove me to our class after party on the back of his motorcycle and waited for me while I drank pop and ate pizza with my classmates, I see the man who was crushed by a car and was told he would never walk again without a cane, let alone have children and play soccer again. I see this man and realize that he is still just a man and he has made mistakes and showed poor judgement at times as well. But I remember the awe that I was always in when I watched him split firewood in the backyard with one swing of the axe when I was a kid, or fix the car with the ridiculous amount of knowledge that he had.
In many ways I realize now that he is still my hero. I have learned from him who I want to be as a Father and also some of the pitfalls that I am going to try and avoid.
I see in my boys some of the awe that I must have had with my Dad growing up. I am going to continue trying to earn that look.