My gramma sent me some old pictures of my mom, my dad, and I earlier this week and it got me thinking of my own IncrediDad.
A dad is someone brave and strong. They will protect their kid from bad guys. They’re able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Dads are incredible. Many young children view their dad as a superhero.
To the best of my knowledge my dad wasn’t athletic so the leaping over tall buildings thing was probably a myth. But he did like to rev the car engine whenever I asked for “the batmobile”. He also had a temper so I knew bad guys couldn’t stand a chance against him.
I remember there was this one time back in high school that a teacher had really treated me badly. I don’t remember what exactly happened but I do remember coming home in tears. My dad dropped me off at home and left again without saying a word. He came back later on and looked at me with a guilty expression. Then he looked at my mom and said, “You’re not going to like what I just did.” To this day, I don’t know what he did but I do know that teacher never bothered me again.
A typical teenager, I didn’t appreciate his actions at the time. I was too upset with him for humiliating me at school to see that he was protecting me from the real bad guys of the world.
Sometimes, I thought my dad was the bad guy. My mom loves to tell the story about one fateful visit to the zoo. Now I’m not saying my crippling fear of reptiles came from my dad but he certainly added to it. We were at the brand new alligator exhibit and I was a little guy, four or five years old. My dad wanted to give me a better view of the prehistoric monsters so he picked me up and held me over the railing. Imagine, my own father was dangling me over an alligator pit, tempting them with a fresh snack. I screamed and screamed and screamed as loud as I could until he put me down. Can you believe that nobody around us would help a poor little kid who was about to be turned into gator chow? Heartless, I tell you.
At least that’s the way I remember it. I swore until the day he died that it really happened that way. My mom likes to paint a rosier picture. She would say that he just wanted me to have a better view, but I know better. I’ve always known better.
My dad really was the original IncrediDad. He learned how to direct plays because I asked him to. He took me to Disney World to many times to count. He even shaved his beard off when I needed him to act in a short film for college. Dad was even there for me when he didn’t want to be.
My dad was a Buffalo Bills season ticket holder long before I was a twinkle in my parents’ eyes. So it was only fitting that I chose to be born on football Sunday of all days. Naturally it had to be a home game too. Dad reluctantly gave away his tickets. I don’t think he ever forgave me for that one.
I think about how proud he would have been of Luke, how much he would have loved Bex, and how I would have promised him every day that I would never be anything like the father he was. Then I hear my mom, aunts, and uncles, laughing because I’ve turned out *gasp* exactly like him. Blaspheme.
There are things he did that made him a superhero and things that didn’t. My dad wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t a monster either. My dad was just a great guy with a heart of gold. I can only hope Luke will say the same thing about me when he’s grown up. But that’s a day I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for.