Used to be that this time of year really bothered me. June was a pain in so many ways. My birthday, Father’s Day and the two were so close together. Don’t misunderstand, though. When I was a kid, who didn’t look forward to a birthday? The presents, getting to be a whole year older, the presents, the party, the presents? Yes, birthdays were fun when I was little.
But now? Now it’s not so much fun. I don’t like being the center of attention. I mean, I love it when somebody contacts me and says something like, “I loved your books!” but to celebrate something like getting older? Or ‘Fathers Day’? I feel like I don’t measure up. Like I’m not worthy. Like my kids deserve so much more. It wasn’t until just recently that I realized…Fathers Day isn’t for ME. It’s for THEM. It’s that day when your kids get to make the home made cards and glue macaroni to it. Or they break out their crayons and create something that is THEIR idea of who Dad is. It gives them the chance to celebrate and say, “I love you, Pops!”
Very few things are more precious to a parent than their memories of their kids growing up. When I think back through ALL of the special memories…both sets of twins, all the hundreds (if not thousands) of ball games, all of the sticky faced kisses and yes…fights, I’m reminded of what is probably the first truly shocking moment of being a parent.
This little guy:
had grown up some. He was celebrating a birthday with all of his little friends. We had taken him to see Michael Keaton play Batman and he loved the movie. So…what does any dad (who is totally infatuated with Batman) do? I rented the costume.
At the time, we lived in Washington state. They had a helmet a law and I rode home in full Batman costume on a big black motorcycle (full fairing) and prayed the entire way I wouldn’t run into a cop. Little sticky faces were plastered to the windows of every car I passed, cape waving in the wind…and there he was. The Washington State Trooper. He did a double take when he saw me. Then gave me a thumbs up with a cheesy grin. He was either a fan or had kids himself.
The party itself really holds little to no memory for me. It was what happened afterward. When the kids were all leaving and I was sick of sweating in places I shouldn’t, I snuck into the bedroom to peel off the costume. As I pulled the cowl off I heard this small, quiet little gasp and I turned to see my oldest standing in the doorway, his eyes as big as saucers, his little face pale. “My daddy is Batman…” It was one of those defining moments for both father and son.
Yes. I AM Batman. Just as you are now Green Lantern for your son.
So, to dads everywhere…BE Superman. BE Batman. BE…Dora. Just BE there.
I’m gonna go to the Batcave to polish the Batmobile. I want it to look good for when I take Mrs. Batman out for my birthday dinner.