the boys and I were having an epic battle with their Avengers action figures. My boys have three obsessions in their life: (1) Their Mom, (2) The Avengers, and (3) Star Wars. Most of our free time consists of asking Mom for something every ten seconds, playing with Avengers toys, or having lightsaber duels. While playing, my middle child, Tommy, decided he should be in charge of a majority of the heroes leaving Dad empty handed and simply narrating the events unfolding before him. Teddy, the oldest and often my biggest advocate when it comes to his maniacal younger brothers, wasn’t happy I was now unable to play.
“Teddy, it’s okay. I’ll be the narrator.” I pleaded, desperately hoping to stop an argument before it even started.
“No!” he responded. “I want you to be one of the Avengers. It’s not the same. Tommy, give him Doctor Strange back!” he bellowed.
Realizing the tides were turning, Tommy smartly offered up a solution. “Dad doesn’t need one of the Avengers because he’s already a hero! You’re a superhero, Dad! Right?”
Feeling proud but realistic, I replied, “Thanks, buddy, but Dad’s not a hero. I don’t have any superpowers. I’ve never saved anybody like a real hero.”
Where’s Joey, my youngest, throughout this conversation? Doing what most four-year-olds do… causing destruction and fostering mayhem throughout the basement by throwing bad guy action figures at walls and windows. Hearing our conversation, he stopped, looked at me and said, “I think you’re a superhero, Daddy! You put a band-aid on me today!” Not a big deal in my mind. He fell, scraped his knee, and I took care of it. Just another menial task of fatherhood, right?
“Yeah!” Teddy chimed in. “And you’re super smart too! Like Iron Man! You helped me with piano today. Remember that measure you helped me with? And what about multiplication?! You know how to do multiplication!” Laughing hysterically and remembering my tormented days of barely getting through Algebra and Geometry in high school, I realized something in that moment. I often take the things I do on a daily basis for my boys for granted. These small acts, things that barely register to me as heroic or anything special, meant the world to them. I get it. People say their parents are their heroes all the time, but me? A hero? I’m just a regular guy. A husband. A teacher. A father. How is that anything out of this world? How do I compete with Captain America?
Joey came barreling towards me at top speed and jumped up at me. “And super strong, Daddy! Make me fly!”
I spun him around and around as if though he was flying. “Thanks, buddies, but I wouldn’t even know what to call myself! Who should I be?”
Not missing a beat, Tommy belted out, “We can call you Dadman!”
“Yeah, Dadman!” Teddy agreed. Phew! Crisis averted I thought. I wouldn’t have to peel them off of each other in what was sure to end in a brother brawl. My money is always on Joey by the way.
“Hmmm, I like it. How about Dadman and the Kid-Kicks? You guys are my sidekicks, right?”
Joey, screaming in delight as we flew throughout the basement, kicked his feet in delight. “I can kick! I’m a sidekick!”
We put the action figures down, created our first epic battle together, and the adventures of Dadman and the Kid-Kicks began.