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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Stern

My Dad is A Superhero

Jonnyboy is a Superhero

If you’re a lucky kid, you grow up thinking your dad is your hero.

If you’re a really lucky kid, you grow up thinking your dad is a superhero.

Fortunately for me I’m a really lucky person.

The reason I know is because my dad has always told me that.

When I was in high school, my dad and I always talked about how lucky life was when we were together. He even had me buy his lottery tickets.

If I’m thinking back on it, I believe it started when I was in third grade and I got my braces.

I don’t know how you’re imagining me as a third grader, but I was in an awkward stage.

I crimped my hair for school picture day, put on a Mickey Mouse headband to go along with my old navy print tee, and to top it all off I had bangs.

So here I am, no longer a little girl or a baby but a full-on kid.

So needless to say, when I got braces I looked super awkward. And somehow I won this random raffle contest in the lobby of my orthodontist’s office.

The next time I went into the office they gave me my award and took a picture of me to put on the wall. It was hilarious and I was so proud. Had I known what one was at the time, I would’ve put it on my resume. But no one was more proud of me than my dad, who had taken me to all of my appointments. It’s always lucky when we’re together.

When I was younger my dad would travel the country as a pilot. And that meant he was gone a lot of the time — sometimes even when we really needed him to be home.

That was hard, but my dad never made it feel hard. He just made it so much better when he came home. That's the thing about my dad: he makes life better. His existence simply makes people happy.

One of my favorite things about my dad is that no matter what has happened during the day, he’s always willing to crack a joke with me. It’s awesome. The world could be ending around us and my dad would say “how's my hair look?” or tell us a dad joke.

That’s the reason now as an adult I know my dad is not only a hero but a superhero.

My sister and I have always had this inside joke between us that my dad is really in the CIA. We’re actually 9999999% sure but we know he’s sworn to secrecy.

He is needed, not just by me but by a lot of people. Sometimes when I really missed my dad while he was flying, I would think about the passengers on his plane, because after all when I was little my mom used to tell me that my dad was a bus driver in the sky. Which made sense to me because my dad's job was so cool I could hardly understand it.

I thought it was so badass that my dad was a pilot that, when he would go on his trips, beamed about the fact I got to go to school and tell people that.

When I got really sad, I would think about the fact that even while I missed my dad, I was grateful that he was making sure so many people got to their loved ones safely.

I’ve always appreciated that about my parents. My mom was a teacher and while I always thought her profession was noble, I thought it was really cool that everyone acknowledged that. My mom has always had a bleeding heart for others. That’s one of the things that perfectly ties my parents together. She is so empathetic and so is my dad. All that being said, even after all these years, I’ve never told my dad how awesome it is that he's a pilot. He takes care of others and makes sure they get where they’re going safely — flying through the sky like the superhero he is.

Like most of us, by the time you’re 30 life had dealt you a few hard days. But none has left more of a mark on me than Sept. 11.

That day changed my life forever. It was the first day I realized that your parents don’t live forever and one day they could be gone.

Now, I know most of us can remember this day pretty clearly — but I can remember every single detail, right down to the outfit I wore and the conversation with my great-grandmother as she drove us scared and confused to school. I thought my dad was gone. It was the scariest day of my life.

I was terrified something could have happened to my dad. Mainly because there were so many unknowns as a pilot’s daughter that day. Sadly, I’m not alone in this feeling. My heart still breaks for the children who weren’t as lucky as I was when their parents didn’t come home from work. From that day forward I never looked at my dad the same.

I suddenly saw his mortality and fully accepted the man he was because of the fact that I knew he was a superhero. In the darkest days of my life, my dad has always brought hope, perseverance and taught me what grit looks like. I learned grit from both of my parents but I really learned it from my dad on Sept. 11th. Following the terrorist attacks, most of the families I lived went back to life as normal; ours didn’t.

The airlines took such an economic hit by 9/11 that my dad was furloughed from the commercial flights to express jets. Our family faced a new struggle financially and emotionally, but we came together stronger than ever. Even though I knew things were hard on my parents, they never let Alex and I see that. That is how I know my dad is a superhero.

My dad is a fairly private person, who is more likely to get to know everything about you before he tells you anything about himself.

My dad is the kind of person that you don’t have to have ever met and instantly know that they're awesome. In another life I know my dad was actually a king of a country. I know that because he is a natural born leader, he is the kind of leader that doesn’t even need to call themselves one.

We just know that if you want to succeed in life you want to be around my dad.

My dad is such a superhero to me that I don’t even call him dad, in fact that almost feels too formal. Instead, I call him Jonnyboy. Jonnyboy is a better name for a superhero. Jonnyboy is the kind of guy who would make you want to believe in children’s books.

That is the story I want to end on because it's the one that will prove to you as well that my dad is a superhero. As I mentioned earlier, my dad was gone a lot when I was younger. You might be thinking that he was distant and we might have not been as close when I was younger — but that’s not true. My dad was more of a dad to me than most dads I’d seen in real life or even on TV or in movies. He would be gone on his trips and then the moment he got home or the next night he would be reading my sister and I to sleep.

We would get so excited for him to come home that we would even go to bed earlier for the opportunity for him to read to us. He would sit at the end of our bed and he’d open whichever Harry Potter book we were on and he’d begin to read to my sister and I. I’m not talking he’d just open up and start reading — no my dad was putting on a straight show for us.

He was providing something for us that most wouldn’t deem possible. My dad managed to be a full time dad even when he physically couldn’t do so. That is how I know my dad is a superhero.

While this has been the hardest time of my life to see my dad going through this, there’s also been so much hope, because I know my dad is a superhero and I know that there's no way he’s not going to get better.

My dad might be fighting off some pretty brutal sickness, but it’s not going to take him down.

Not only because nothing can, but because of the fact that it's always lucky when we are together.

And this time around I get to take care of him, I get to show him how happy I am to do it, too. That even through the darkness, he’s still the light of our lives.

And as we know from seeing all of the comic book movies with my dad, superheroes never lose. And Jonnyboy is a superhero.

You could be a match to save a patient in need -

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