As a boy, I’d sit on the knee of my father and feel an instantaneous sense of security and protection that would emanate from his presence. “Aaron, squeeze my hand as hard as you can!” as he held out his hand. Tiny hands trying to wrap around his hands, he’d have to hold out just a few fingers so I could pitifully attempt a squeeze at them. “Ok, my turn..” he’d say, to which I would quickly tell him to stop for fear that my bones would turn into powder.
Walking through the crowd, there was a great sense of fear and anxiety that would creep through my little bones as I saw the knees and thighs of those around me. Dad would pick me up and carry me through the crowd. Being this high up certainly made me nervous, as I worried he would topple over and I would go flying through the air. And yet, the sense of security to being in his arms was the most secure feeling a young child could feel.
Many hot afternoons were spent watching him in the garage, poring over his large tool bench. “Aaron, always use the right tool for the right job.” he would remind me, after a poor attempt to use a screwdriver to hammer in some loose nail resulted in a bent nail. To this day, I still walk through our garage and take in the smell of the tool bench. Metal, wood shavings, and too many boxes of construction staples. Containers of industrial oil, glues, and solvents remind me that Dad was always prepared for whatever challenge came his way.
Every now and then, Dad would get in the mood to get back into shape. “Breakfast” would be pouring through his speakers, and I’d come up the steps to watch him curling his set of iron weights. Come to think of it, he never had great form. However, I remember trying to pick the weights up and having an impossible time doing it. Thus, my image of Superman was crafted.
Growing older, I look fondly on these things that helped shape my image of a strong father. Every now and then, when I’m doing the very activities that helped me form my image of him, I realize he’s not quite gone. A good father should leave a legacy behind that goes above and beyond the mark he left. Whether it is working in the garage and using his tools to fix my car, going to the gym and coming oh-so close to his goal of military pressing his body weight, or taking the 270W-315S curve at 95mph, he’s left a mark on this earth.
See you soon, Superman.