When I was younger, I use to pretend that I was a cat, and I’m meow all day and then cuddle my dad, who would pet my head and scratch my chin. He was the person I talked to about first kisses and crushes. He was my king, and I, his princess.
We’ve always had that kind of relationship, and though I no longer pretend to be a kitten, I’m still his princess. There are lines that we don’t cross in conversations, certain subjects we don’t discuss, secrets we don’t acknowledge… because I want to forever be Daddy’s little girl.
When I was growing up, I dragged him to shop for prom dresses, and we went to baseball games together. We got pedicures. We went on ski trips. We saw Jewel concerts and Cyrano de Bergerac and movies.
In my head, I viewed him as a superhero. I thought he was forgiving, because he had let go of his own father’s mistakes, and forgiven my mom for hers. I’d heard stories of his childhood, and he was always the “good kid:” Senior class president, athlete, private school kid, conscience for all his friends. He made fresh lattes and a hot breakfast almost every morning and listened to Jewel with me. Plus, he loved my mom.
I’ve since—you know—grown up (though not that much), and I know my dad is plagued by mortality just like the rest of his. His loved ones die, despite his efforts to “save” them. He breaks bones and grinds his teeth and can’t touch his toes. Sometimes his smoothies aren’t stellar (but I drink them anyway). And I steam my milk for lattes better than he does.
He’s no superhero, I have to confess. But that doesn’t take away from how spectacular he is, or the incredible bond we’re lucky enough to share. He inspires me to pursue things that make me happy, and his moral compass typically points north. He may not be a superhero, but he is my hero. An everyday hero. A cape wouldn’t look good on him, anyway.