But once I became a father, I realized there was another opportunity, not to fly or have x-ray vision, but to be a hero. Children have that super power, the power to make you feel like a hero. Unfortunately, they have the equally strong super power, the power to humble you.
"Mommy, why did you apologize to daddy?" It was a question my 3-year-old daughter asked my wife after a recent mommy-daddy disagreement.
"Well, when you have a disagreement, it is always good to end with an apology," my wife explained. "In this case, I was a little mean to daddy so I needed to apologize."
My daughter considered this for a moment and then replied with great concern, "Mommy, you must be careful with Daddy. He is fragile."
Wait a minute ... what? Where does she get that? I went from the winner in a fight with my wife for the first time in 10 years (we all know there are no winners in a fight ... but I got the apology which counts for something) and now I am a wimp? So much for being Superman.
In a different, but equally humbling situation, my son and I waited in line for a ride at a local amusement park. We were just listening to the ride operator when the gentleman announced, “This ride is not suitable for children under 42 inches, people with chronic back problems or those who are pregnant.”
We had cleared the hurdle that he was tall enough, but my son, who was listening intently, asked during a lull in the surrounding noise when nearly every other adult within ear shot could hear, "Daddy, are you pregnant?" Laughter ensued. My son, not understanding why everyone was laughing, asked again, "Daddy, are you?" More laughter. Ha-ha, laugh at the fat guy joke!
However, when they knock you down, they can also pick you right back up. Recently, without prompting, my daughter looked up at me, gave me the sweetest smile and said, "Daddy, you’re my hero. I love you." As a daddy, you'll be hard pressed to have a better moment. I can live with being fragile if I am my daughter’s hero!
My wife, sensing the sweetness of this moment and wanting to extend it, asked, "Why is Daddy your hero?"
"Because he rescued me from the cage."
What? I guess we should have left well enough alone.
(Editor’s Note: Matt has a family of six — a beautiful, pregnant wife, a son, a daughter and of course, the family dogs — Tucker and Boomer, and for clarity purposes (and to prevent a child protective services phone call), his daughter has never been in a cage. Matt’s column appears every other Wednesday in the Cleveland Daily Banner.)