Reality dictates that superheroes only exist in comic books and fiction novels. In this society where I belong, supernatural beings are non-existent and irrelevant— they always are apocryphal creations of adults planted in children’s heads to make them feel safe and less afraid of the harsh physical universe.
It is true that my father unlikely possesses a squirting web feature like Spiderman, a cool collection of gadget like Batman, an awesome laboratory with a robotic assistant named Jarvis like Ironman, a fast healing ability like Wolverine, an oh-so-heavy-body-built like Thor, an energy that controls the elements of the earth like Aang, or a distinct superhero costume like Captain America. But just because he is all too human does not mean that my dad is less extraordinary than the phenomenal superheroes I got acquainted with while growing up.
Papa is always my protector, the one who always provides me security when I feel most vulnerable. He senses it when I am worried, when I am panicking or when I am apprehensive even if I hide it. He knows perfectly well that I am quite scared of stray dogs and he would hold my hand to ease me. At times when I had to deal with IVs and needles he would sit beside me, hold my hand firmly and console me with the words, “It will sting but you don’t have to be afraid because I am here. Just close your eyes, okay?” as if he has the power to take the pain away.
For my father, there is nothing too big of a problem which cannot be fixed. He is the man of solution and action. He is my go-to-person in almost everything; be it asking for extra-money (which my mother would surely not give me), helping me with my science project that needs hammering (and a deal of other complicated work), planning my Girl Scout camping trip, or seeking permission in activities mama would definitely object.
He is the best guy pal I ever had. I can drag him to go biking with me around town or go beaching when no one wants to make themselves available for me. Some parents would detach themselves away from their kids for the reason that what children always do are childish. My dad on the other hand, not just hangs out with my brother and I during his free time; he also participates in our follies and discussion about the little mischief we pull at school.
There is no “Sorry I am busy right now for you” moment with him. Despite the number of things he needs to attend to, he always make sure that my brother and I are always his top priority. He would squeeze PTA meetings in his schedule and would be willing to give his whole day for me to drive me around and accompany me in simultaneous events I need to be present in.
He is a man who is never afraid of saying, “I love you”, to my brother and I in public and never gets tired of repeating it over and over for us not to forget that he genuinely loves us— equally. I am grateful that even though I am defiant and hard to handle my old man never gave up on me. When mama and I would have a fight, I would turn to him and cry on his shoulders. He on the other hand would deal with me in the most compassionate way even if I was in the wrong.
It is funny how he always reminds me to exercise and not to eat too much when he is the one feeding me with a lot of food. He spoils me by cooking my favorite dishes when I am home and then teases me that I am already getting fat. When I woke up after every nap he would never fail to make fun of my swollen eyes and chubby cheeks comparing my entire face to a baozi or pork bun.
I cannot really put into writing everything about my father. Words are too limited to contain the whole of this man who is admirable in everything he does— work, family, and love. I am forever thankful to be the daughter of my father— the only person who will eternally look at me as a child.
You are indeed my Superman papa. I love you too and I hope you will never get tired of your Daddy’s girl!
Cheers to all the great fathers out there!