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

Photos of Emily Ladau and her father Marc

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.