Of Heroes and Defeat


My Dad, my Hero

my dad my hero

I have this incredible job! I get to be a real live hero!

Or at least I will try to be.

I know that kids look up to their parents (by design, by default, or by some other loving magic) and I love this feeling that I get when one of the kids looks at me with awe. Like when one marvels that I can lift the couch all by myself! Or when I can open a pickle jar! Or that I can drive a car!  Or that I can finish a hard level on their video game for them (OK, to be fair, this last one I feel pretty amazed with myself sometimes too)

Recently I heard my son say to his mom, “Wait mom, I’ll get Dad to do that because he is the strongest!” (the garbage bag was stuck in the bin). You wouldn’t believe the pride I felt as I stepped in the kitchen (I might as well have had a cape on) and proclaimed “I’ll do that for you M’am!”. Everyone laughed and it was great. The garbage was liberated from the bin, and I mussed up my sons hair as I handed in him the bag to carry outside – it might as well have been a scene from Superman.

These are the good times. but . . .

I have a great fear of letting the kids down. Right now the kids are young and when I need extra sleep, or if I’m withdrawn/paralyzed by my disorder, they don’t seem to notice. I fear that when they get older, they will notice the ups and downs of my moods and see me as unreliable, or worse.

Defeat  England-captain-Kevin-Pie-001

I guess it is the natural progression of things for a child to look up to their parent (mom and/or dad) as though they were the best person in the world, and then as the child gets older, they begin to look elsewhere for examples of excellence. I’m sure that it is a normal fear/pain for a parent to see their child leave the nest and stop seeking out the parent for heroic help.

I suppose, in essence, heroes are meant to be present in the moment, and live only in stories.

Someone is heroic, stories tells of these heroes and their deeds, but unless the hero keeps saving babies from burning buildings or catching bad guys with webs, the hero then only lives in the retelling of their amazing feats.

The hero has to be let off the hook at some point. And so, when dad is no longer the strongest, or no longer the only one who is able to one the pickle jar, he no longer is a hero, but painfully commonplace. Worse than this is the fact that dad is getting older, and he may not be able to lift the couch all on his own any more.

I’m painting a picture here of an ebb and flow – does it make sense?

The bottom line is this – the price of being a hero, is the pain of becoming ordinary

Heroes Wanted

Though don’t fret fathers. I think that the price is worth it. Even if you have a disorder, it is worth it.

Children are going to grow up, and they will see our warts and wounds and failings and shortcomings, but the love you invest when they are young (I’m promised) will return. And while you may not be the hero of their childhood, you may forever live as an example of the heroic in their everyday life.

“Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.”
― Fred Rogers


Everyone has something they don’t like about themselves. I would suggest though that people with disabilities that carry a negative social stigma (like bipolar), are more fearful of letting their children down by having this. But in my calmer moments, I know that my love and the time I pour into each child will make up for any short coming I may have.

Love is the salve

So if we are to be heroes, then we need to have courage! We will face our dragons and show our children that despite having this limitation, we still had the strength to open a pickle jar, or wrestle with trash, or simply love them and be their biggest supporter

“Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes over night. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” – Eleanor Roosevelt


One Response to “Of Heroes and Defeat”

  1. 1 Soldier On « Bipolar 2 Dad

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