It is almost midnight and the house is relatively quiet. If I wasn’t wearing my headphones I could hear the soft snoring of sleeping children and the various noises of the house settling. It was a busy weekend, action packed and full of far too much activity.
More Chanukah parties. More time in the car. More time shopping. More time navigating and negotiating the various pitfalls and challenges that life places in front of us and more questions. Questions from the children. Questions from the wives, mothers, grandmothers, grandfathers and fathers.
A man dressed as Santa approaches my children. My daughter shys away from him. A lady standing nearby tries to sooth her by saying “Santa doesn’t bite.” A few minutes later my daughter says “Santa Bites.” I try to cut this off before it gains traction but we’re in a store and her brother is bored so he starts chanting “Santa Bites” with her. They mean it literally and gnash their teeth at each other while laughing hysterically.
Speaking of laughing hysterically I am trying not to. It is a double-entendre and with my juvenile sense of humor it makes me chuckle. Later my son complains to me that the stores haven’t decorated for Chanukah. I explain to him that it is not important what others do but what we do.
We make a quick stop at the Verizon store. Oops, did I say quick. I meant it was intended to be quick, but the little curly haired boss decides otherwise. Somehow she manages to find three ways to slow the whole process down. Most of the time my children are very well behaved, but they have their moments. So I pick her up and tell her to take a nap. I don’t know who gets more out of it, her or me.
A short time later we’re home. Kids are showered, teeth are brushed, candles are lit and gifts are opened. My son is reading stories about superheroes to me. We’re engaged in discussions about whether Green Lantern could beat up Superman and do I think that I could beat up Batman.
Could I beat up Batman? I tell him it is a good question. He tells me that he is certain that my dad probably could have, at least when he was younger. And if my dad could beat up Batman than so could I. I listen to his rationale and smile. He tells me that he thinks that the biggest challenge is that I don’t have my own utility belt.
I smile at him and tell him that I have a plan. I’ll sneak up and pull Batman’s cape over his eyes and then while he can’t see I’ll take his belt and throw it away. Of course if I was fighting this Batman it is a foregone conclusion that I’d win. I am far too mean for him. Could I stop this Batman? Now that is a different story. What is that line, If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, you become something else entirely…
But I digress. His thoughts about fathers and superheroes intrigues me. This is not the first time that I have written about this. I remember at my grandfather’s funeral my father stood up and said that his hero had died. It was one of those moments that will probably always stay with me because he was my hero too.
And I remember speaking with my grandfather about his father and realizing that his father was his hero too. And here I am, this man who sometimes feels like a boy and I have my own fan.
There is this little guy who watches everything I do and tries to do it too. And I think back to this post (Fatherâ€™s Love Their Daddies Too) and remember that we all just figure it out as we go along. It is not always so reassuring, but that uncertainty is part of what makes life interesting.