When I was 13 years old, I heard someone screaming obscenities from our garage as I was coming up the front walk after school. I was afraid and uncomfortable, wondering who the angry man was in our garage. I timidly stuck my head in and saw my father was standing there with a small electrical burn on his hand and a tangle of wires and Christmas lights around his neck.
Was that MY dad who said all that? Could that possibly be the same quiet man that sat beside my mother in church and told me never to swear? I remember feeling shocked, like I didn't know him as well as I thought. Who was this imposter?
My own kids have me on a pedestal.
My kids think I am all knowing and perfect.
I fear nothing.
I can fix anything.
I can lift heavy things.
I can throw things far.
I can hit golf balls "to the Moon!"
But how long before they see that I am human, and have my weaknesses and faults? How long before bumbling Clark Kent is revealed?
Let me say, I know I am a good honest man that lives my values, but when will my children see the chinks in the armour?
I am terrified for the day they discover the real me: the flawed real me. How hard will I fall off the pedestal that I so proudly perch upon?
When will they hear me really curse for the first time? Luckily they were outside on the trampoline, when I cut off the end of my finger in the sliding glass door... I would have had some explaining to do that day as I had combined several swear words that don't usually go together.
When will they recognize me as a little "sillier" at my own birthday party? ("Was that a different kind of Dr. Pepper dad?")
When will they see the real man that loves their mother, but still notices EVERY pony-tailed jogger on both sides of the street?
When can I answer honestly just how I do obtain first run movies on my computer that may still be in theatres?
I preach "loving and respecting women and looking for beauty on the inside", so how I will explain my interest in the LFL -- the "Lingerie Football League"?
From the pirating to the swearing, I am not perfect. I know that, but my kids don't realize it yet. I have bad ideas daily. I can be unreasonable and stubborn. I really don't know everything.
But my ultimate hope is that when the real me is finally revealed, tragic flaws and all, that my children's' love for me will not be diminished, but only become stronger: stronger because they see that I am a real man; vulnerable and authentic.
While some parents look forward to their child's graduation or wedding day, I think I am now looking forward to the day my kids discover I am human. What a relief that day will be!!
The big question is WHEN will Superman's true identity be known...
While it was revealed slowly, and much to my dismay, I have realized that my own parents are as flawed as every other human on earth. They did the best they possibly could with what they had. I am grateful for the mature adult love I have for them: a truly unconditional love for who they really are and not the ideal of who I thought they were.
Like my father with the Christmas lights, I would rather be adored as the bumbling Clark Kent than the fabricated, artificial image of perfection.
Love to hear from you... what are you afraid of your kids finding out?
Until next time.