When I was a little girl, my dad was my hero. I used to tell my friends that he was the real Superman; that saving the world was what he did when he went to work each day. After all, what else could he be doing working sixteen hours a day? One time he received a patent for an assembly line he designed. He showed me a picture of him shaking a very important looking man’s hand. I proudly took it to show-and-tell, and told my classmates that the man was the President of the United States, and my dad was his best friend. After work, on cool summer nights, my dad would come home and push me in the swing he built for me until his arms grew sore. One night, as I was soaring extra high, he pointed to the biggest star in the sky. He told me that someday, if I worked hard enough, I would be able to reach out and grab that star, but not to worry—I already shone much brighter than any star ever could. When I would have those childhood nightmares of monsters, I knew that my dad would always be awake, waiting for me with a game of Mancala already set up. He would stay up with me until I fell asleep, sometimes playing all night.
In later years, I have found that my dad can fix a broken heart better than Ben & Jerry ever could. He is always there to pick up the pieces, and knows just the right words to convince me that the scumbag didn’t deserve me anyways. When I make mistakes, which happens quite frequently, he is always the first to jump to my defense, even if he, along with everyone else, knows that I did wrong. He has a way of reprimanding me while also comforting me—something that no one else can do.
These days, my knight in shining armor has become a bit tarnished, and that star seems farther from reach each day. Our relationship has changed a lot lately. . .but only because I now know what the President looks like, and that monsters don’t exist—not to mention the hundreds of miles now between us. I see him two days a month now, and our relationship consists of two-minute phone conversations and the occasional text message. Sometimes I feel like a lung is missing—that’s how big of a presence my dad’s absence has on me. Despite all the changes, I believe—no, I know—that my dad, my hero, will always be behind me, pushing me to reach that star.