Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Superman's Secret Identity Revealed

Let me let you in on a little secret, Superman is real and I know who he is.  I married him 12 years ago.  I know he has super powers because a friend who lent us a mower once said my husband could break an anvil.  Maybe that isn't what he meant...

He can hit baseballs out of the park, coach for days in freezing February weather or 102 degree sun, if you put oranges in your water cooler it makes a difference, you know.  But let him go too long without sugar and, lets just say hunger is his kryptonite.

As crazy as I was about him, I didn't even know his secret identity.

But then something happened, a miracle actually (but that is for another post) and we found out we were expecting.  A baby shoe with an apple seed to show the size of our child the day we learned he existed and a poppy seed to show the size of his already beating heart.   Twenty-one days wonderfully made and our child's heart was beating.

Superman became Mr. Safety, spending two hours in the car seat aisle before actually making a purchase.  I am not kidding.  He did the finger sticks to test the sugar in my blood and worked in his gymnasium office while I walked that sugar off at 10:00 PM.  While I lay in a hospital bed recovering from a c-section, he changed tar-filled diapers, eventually becoming such an expert by our third child that he made a list of the supplies he wanted, forget cotton balls, you need industrial wipes for that stuff.  I began to suspect that he was not to be taken for granted.

He is the "master swaddler" who kept vigil over me and the new ones every minute we were in the hospital.  He came in the door from work, kissed me (is that how all this got started?) and says, "Give me that baby, he needs Daddy-time."  He is the daddy who took the boy to daycare the whole first week because I couldn't stand to do it and then hurried there to get him first.  He always has room on his chest for a sleepy little one.  I reach out to the little one who can't lay down while he sleeps, strapped in a seat to keep his milk down, and I touch him to feel him breathe but his daddy's hand is already there.  These are the things you do when you are a daddy.  These are the ordinary things that turn men into heroes.

He is learning to live on kid-time and how to eat with a person on his lap.  The man of steel drives slower now.  He has used words like "onesie" and "exersaucer" and he says, "Sorry, not today, I am with my kids."  He learned to appreciate the sounds of babies breathing, squirming and talking to their toes while we tried to sleep because that means they are there and they are healthy.  These are the changes you make when you are a daddy.  These are the ordinary changes that change you.

He likes to be with the kids and misses us when he can't be home with us.  He tells me, his wife, that I take good care of our children when it is 5:00 AM and one of them is up again.  He says I did the right thing when an emergency room visit spawns a $1,500 bill because our son shook strangely without cause when he was nursing.  He bundles our children for the trip to church.  He worked long and hard to get his National Boards and principals' degree because he looks to the future and wants to take care of us.  The man of steel has made a commitment of steel.  Commitments of steel make it possible for ordinary men to leap tall buildings.

He loves me, the mother of his children, chooses to love me every day.  He works hard so that I can raise our children and it matters.  They wait for the lights of his van (major sacrifice there!) and run when they see him. They still cry sometimes when he has to work too many nights in a row.  They don't miss TV heroes but they need him and he is there.  Above all, these kids know, day after day, minute after minute that he loves them.

He endures an ever-lengthening bedtime routine and says daddy prayers over them.  These are the things that teach your children what a daddy does, what a hero is.  These are battles fought  with hard choices and adventures lived in wee hours and a legacy well worth leaving and I know that his power doesn't come from the planet Krypton but from a holy place that is not fiction.  He knows it too and that is why he is more than a man, but a hero to four of us whose day really gets started when daddy comes home.

Love always,