Can I Really Be Dad And Superman? – #superman #howtodad
I’m not entirely sure if I should be writing this article or not. Mostly, because what I am writing about is pretty fresh. Like, a few hours old. It involves myself and my son. Let me start off by saying that I am blessed beyond my wildest imagination. The good and the bad, has all combined to give me a better life and family than I could ask for.
The question I am asking, is a hard one. Can a dad be superman? My son calls me superman. I have superman tattooed on my back. Superman is my favorite hero of all time, and for many, many reasons. The top reasons, the ones that I hold close to my heart; Strength and Decency.
This morning, I received a phone call at about 8:15. I raised an eyebrow, because it was my son’s bus garage. He normally gets picked up at around 7:45am. If the bus was late, my wife would have called already to ask what was up? I answered.
*No known injuries
*Where it happened
*Will let you know more when we know
That’s all I remember. I hung up and repeated those points in my head. Minor, everything is ok. I called my wife, and a few minutes later I was in my car and heading down the road to find my son. When I got close to where the accident was, the road was closed. Closed? I thought this was a minor accident? I pulled over behind a Sheriff, and got out. I couldn’t see the accident from where I was. The only thing I “could” see, was the LINE of emergency vehicles. So, I started walking
As I passed about 4-5 cars, I could see something ahead, off to the side of the road. It was then, that my heart actually felt like it paused…
It’s hard to see in the picture above, that ‘black’ smudge on the right, is my son’s bus. When I made it to the bus, my heart stopped again.
Minor??? WHO calls this minor? Those thoughts were flying through my head. And WHERE was my son?
I walked up to the nearest EMT and said, “Excuse me. My son was on that bus..” The guy turned around, and put both his hands on my shoulders. Before he could speak, my heart dropped again. Why was he putting his hands on my shoulders? Did that mean bad news? Was he worried I would fall? Pass out? “He’s ok…” Those were the first words he spoke. I breathed, not realizing that I wasn’t breathing until then. “He’s ok, everything is ok.” he repeated. He walked me over to the Ambulance, and I knocked on the door and opened it. There was my boy, sitting on the bench seat with a surprised look on his face. “Dad? What are you doing here?” the 6 year old looked like he was a baby to me, and yet, like an adult. I FORCED myself to speak, and not cry. “What am I doing here? I’m here to check on you punk! Are you ok?” There it was. There was my confidence, my ‘dad’ face! I found it, and I willed it to stay on.
“Your son is just fine, and really smart.” The first EMT said, smiling. “He knew your names, address, phone numbers. He had his act together!” I smiled and told Finn how proud I was of him. I wanted to just grab him and run away… but I didn’t. We had to take him to the hospital, just to be checked over. The bus driver was also in the ambulance, she looked at me and started crying. “I’m so sorry!” She kept saying. I re-assured her that it was ok, that I was just glad they were both safe. My son was the only one on the bus, they hadn’t picked anyone else up yet. There it was again. My dad face, my ‘superdad’ coming through, right? Be strong, be patient, be steady. Don’t over-react… be a rock for your son. I did it, right?
I got in my truck and followed the ambulance.
About an hour later, we were all wrapped up at the ER and I was walking my son out to the car. He had regaled me with tails of hanging from the bus seat, broken windows, and telling his bus driver not to come back to him because of the broken glass. Who was this boy? Or should I be calling him a man? I was proud of him, but I was scared he would think he “Couldn’t” be scared. I told him it was ok to cry, or be upset. He told me, I’m ok dad! I watched him get in my car and buckle in, no hesitation. Inside, I was a mess. This boy, who was actually in the tragedy, handled it like a pro. I know that kids can do that, but it scared me. Was he ok? Was he just not dealing with his feelings? Or, since he was so young, did he just not have those concerns that I did?
Then something else happened. He asked me, “Dad, why didn’t you get there quicker?” I looked at him. “I got there as quick as I could buddy.” He nodded. “It’s a good thing that the ambulance people got me out. If they didn’t, you would have had to lift the bus up and get me.”
I gave him a smile. “Yep, I would have buddy.”
“Yeah dad, you could do that. You’re superman.”
My son thinks I’m superman….
I don’t know if you are a parent, or not. But if you are, think about that for a minute.
I can’t be weak… I can’t be un-decent… I can’t “not” come through. I have to be stronger, faster, smarter, and impossible to stop. I have to be “Dad”…. I have to be weak in private, I have to cry alone, and I have to fail when no one sees me.
I have to. Every child deserves Superman as their dad.
But a real superman, has to fail in front of them… I have to be weak in front of them… I have to cry in front of them. How? When? God help me do it right….
EDIT: PART 2 – The Aftermath