Why My Dad Isn’t a Hero or a Saint: A Father’s Day Tribute

Whether they admit it out loud or not, people always wonder how my dad, Marc, “does it.” I can hear it in the tone of a person’s voice; I can see it in their facial expressions. How does my dad handle being the able-bodied husband and father to two disabled women? Everyone from family members to complete strangers have remarked how amazing he is and how lucky my mom and I are to have him in our lives. On more than one occasion, he’s even been called a hero or a saint.

My dad is neither of those things to me, though. And before you call me callous or ungrateful for saying that, hear me out.

I decided to come up with another way to describe my dad. I’ve recently taken to calling him Charlie-Marc, as in a reference to the title “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” It struck me to call him that one random day after he’d gone out of his way to drive me somewhere (since I don’t yet have a vehicle of my own). I feel strongly that there’s no better or more accurate description of my dad than “good man,” because it is something he can live up to every day. You see, to perceive my dad as heroic or saintly is actually rather unfair. Consider this: it may seem like a compliment, but by saying this, you actually manage to relegate my mother and I to a status of lesser beings than my dad while simultaneously asserting that my dad’s only bit of worth lies in being a caregiver. Neither of these are true.

Yes, he must go above and beyond the typical responsibilities of a father at times for reasons related to my physical limitations, but this is not all that defines his role as my dad. There are a million other reasons aside from his help and care that demonstrate time and again why he’s a regular old great guy. My dad is fiercely loyal and dedicated to our little family. He’s hilarious, and pretty much always up for a little silliness to brighten the mood. He’s always ready with words of wisdom and a surplus of hugs and affection when I need it most. But he also has tough days, plenty of aches and pains, and good old-fashioned cases of the grumps. He is real and he is human, and to me, that’s worth so much more than being a hero or a saint.

I never let a day go by without telling my dad that I love him, but especially today, I want him to know that I love him not just for all he’s done for me and my mother over the years, but for who he is – an awesome father and an all-around, bonafide good man.

I love you so much, Dad! Happy Father’s Day.

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Comments

  1. “…to perceive my dad as heroic or saintly is actually rather unfair. Consider this: it may seem like a compliment, but by saying this, you actually manage to relegate my mother and I to a status of lesser beings than my dad while simultaneously asserting that my dad’s only bit of worth lies in being a caregiver.” Amazingly put!

  2. I love this post. I think the fact that you appreciate your dad but also see that he is human just like you and I is amazing. Sure he may be your hero, but at the same time he is simply being a good guy and a great dad and I think he values that more.

  3. As always eloquently put.
    My Dad is….well he’s not someone I’ll be writing a post as glowing as this about but my mum is my “good person” & she won’t even accept that accolade. She tells me over & over that she only does what anyone should do & tries to prove that she’s not doing as much as she could.
    Perhaps but she does what I need her to do & that’s enough ^^

    Sally ^^
    http://www.wheelingalong24.com

  4. Another reason ‘hero’ and ‘saint’ may not ring true as descriptors of your dad is because they imply some huge sacrifice on his part. As if he’s missing out on SO MANY AMAZING THINGS every day by choosing to be a great husband to your mom and a great father to you.

    People often use those words to describe my mom and neither of us has ever viewed them as positives. We always try to respond in a (polite but assertive) way that lets people know that ALL parents make sacrifices and do things for their kids that they wouldn’t do for anyone else. It’s not about bravery or saintliness, it’s about love.

  5. This is an amazingly beautiful tribute to a great man. I’ve never met your dad, but I know the type. I also resent “saint” and “hero”. I hope he had a beautiful Father’s Day, but more importantly, I am sure he loves every day. Found you through Love That Max and plan to read more.

  6. I get it. As the disabled adoptive mom of a disabled son I hear the heroine bit all the time. What people fail to realize is that I love my son, I love our life, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. We fit together like a hand and glove.

  7. I LOVE THIS! Well said and necessary. My husband and I get thanked for adopting our son who has Down syndrome. They don’t get they are insulting our kid. People have funny, puny ideas. Thanks for articulating that:)

  8. I love this post SO much, Emily. A couple of (ex) friends used to tell me that my husband is a saint and I was lucky to have him. It annoyed my husband and I to no end because, like you said, not only did it make me seem like a loser, but it made him seem like JUST a faithful sidekick when he is so much more. This is a wonderful, realistic tribute to your dad who sounds like an all-around awesome guy.

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