This isn’t one of those stories where becoming a father made me a super hero because Dads are super heroes. They are; and I am. This isn’t a story about how Dad’s are super heroes in their kids’ eyes. They are; and I hope I am. But this isn’t that story.
This one is more personal and it is about my journey alone. But I think its about a journey to super herohood that many Dads probably share; so I’m sharing it with you.
For most of my life I’ve been the bull-in-a-china-closet type. Delicate actions and precise movements were never my thing. If you needed a needle threaded or pattern traced, you’d best look elsewhere.
I remember modelling as a youth. Cars – Corvettes, mostly, planes and boats. I made a lot of models. Yes, I guess I was sort of a geek. But the worst of it is that I wasn’t even all that good. A combination of fat, clumsy fingers and impatience meant most of the models ended up looking like Mr. Potato Head assembled by blind dogs. Bits of glue pooled here and strewn there misaligned parts there. A mast on a ship might lean at a 10 degree angle; a decal affixed on a plane might skew at a slight angle angle.
As my wife would say, “it could only happen to you.” Objects set near the edge of counters fell off. I tripped while holding whatever possession I didn’t want to trip holding. If I desperately didn’t want to drop something, I inevitably stumbled and dropped it. In high school while helping a girlfriend’s parents pack for vacation I somehow dropped one of the two six packs of soda I carried to the car for them.
And I spilled stuff; everywhere. True story: At a doctor’s visit during the process of trying to conceive I spilled an entire Dunkin Donuts iced coffee in the examination room. That is 20 oz of embarrassment, right there.
Often my desperate efforts at saving whatever I dropped merely resulted in my batting it around a couple times, adding velocity to its inevitable collision with the ground.
I fell down stairs. I fell up stairs. I caught the corners of tables and chairs with elbows and hips and soft tissue.
I bumped my head on hard, unforgiving items so frequently I can’t imagine it hasn’t affected my brain more than playing football; these things were located right above my head and often in my field of vision. I carried things that then banged into things for me. Another true story: I once attended a graduation party at a college-friends father’s home. It was a nice party at a nice home with several friends, my long-time girlfriend of the time and lots of his family I didn’t know. We were celebrating our graduation. I was full of optimism and excitement and the potential of youth. And no alcohol.
I had been at the party for, say about an hour, when I turned to my left to enter the home through a sliding glass door at the back of the home. Only the door was closed. Bang. The glass shook and made this “bonging” sound but otherwise gave no ground. I ended up on the ground. Maybe there is a reason that girlfriend and I broke up shortly thereafter.
But that changed upon becoming a father. The moment my children escaped from their fortress of solitude apparently aroused the Super Dad in me. Sure, I bumped my head on the basement door frame just a couple of weekends ago, but ignore that.
I’ve caught my children falling down the steps on no less than three occasions. One time it all occurred so quickly, and the catch so perfect, that I hardly remember a thing about it. I was looking at Sadie and next thing I knew I was holding Liam one handed.
Before that, I carried my triplets up and down the stairs probably 1,000 times without incident. I’m not lying or exaggerating when I tell you that before children I probably would have stumbled at least 50 times during that period.
Before having children I worried I would drop one. Yet I haven’t dropped one yet. Not even a slight juggle. And having triplets, I often am forced to pick up two at a time. In the past, that almost certainly quintupled by risk for a drop or trip.
I know, I know, I shouldn’t have said anything.