The Superhumans of our Childhood

In my previous post, I happened to mention how I thought as a child that my dad was incapable of gastrointestinal activities. I'm sure I've talked about this before, about how he always looked prim and proper in his starched and ironed clothes, about how his shoes were polished to the extent that the minute he walked into a room, innocent people were blinded by all the light bouncing off his feet. After a long day of work, he'd come home smelling of cologne and cigars, and I've never really seen him break into sweat because that wouldn't be "proper". He has basically been an English Lady from the 30's throughout his life. So how can someone like him perform normal human activities like pooping and farting? Nuh-uh. Impossible.

It's only after publishing that post that I remembered a crazy fact from my childhood, something that is proof that I was not a very smart kid. You see, my dad used to work for the Air Force. And towards the end of his career, his job was to travel to various Air Force Stations across the country to inspect them during the weekdays. I hear that he was quite the terror during his travels. But the lion would return home to me, his 7 or 8 year old daughter, to relate the tales of his travels. I learned that he'd once had dinner comprising of dry bread and pickles with nomads on a desert in Rajasthan, and that he'd shared some sugar cane with a farmer in Punjab. But what was astonishing to me was the fact that he'd fly to these places.

"But how did you get there?", I'd ask.

"I flew there.", he'd reply.

"Wooooooooow......"

I believed that my father could fly. Yep, I was a stupid, STUPID kid.

Some of our conversations went like this:

"How did you get back home so fast?"

"I flew down here."

And this:

"Why are you wearing this strange outfit?"

"Oh, these are the overalls I fly in."

And this:

"When did you start flying?"

"In my early twenties."

Context: He was a fighter pilot. And the fact that we mostly conversed in English was not helping at all.

So while my dad thought he was educating me about his travels, the only lesson I took home was that he could fly. And I believed with all my heart that I would start flying in navy blue overalls when I got to my twenties myself. I used to day-dream about the flying and the crime fighting that I would do with my dad. I slept soundly after re-affirming to myself that a day would come when I'd take off, myself. Wouldn't things have been a lot better if I'd kept this discovery stupidity to myself? But no. I had to tell my friends all about it. "Your dad's a doctor? Get this - mine can fly."

Somewhere along the way, I realised that I was stupid and kept this new found knowledge of my stupidity to myself. It was only in my twenties that I even admitted to my dad that I believed he could actually fly. I wish I didn't have to snap out of that fantasy world. It was a beautiful world in my head. But that's okay because soon after that fantasy ended, a new one began. I thought I'd become a pilot myself and fly all over the place. Turns out that you need to a) continue growing for more than 13 years of your life and b) show at least some interest in science and math to become a pilot. But that was okay too, because now I thought I'd marry a prim and proper guy in uniform because guys in uniform are hot as fuck. But looks like this is as much "hot guy in uniform" as I'll ever get:

At least he's more mature now.

I realise that a lot of little kids believe that their parents are super-heroes. And then, they grow up and see them for who they really are - mere humans who make A LOT of mistakes. But somewhere down the road, they realise that most of the things these parents did for their children required superhuman strength. And for that, I hope they feel a sense of gratitude. I know I do. Because as I grew up, I learned to resent many of the things that my parents did. I'd tell them that their opinions were wrong, or that some past action had scarred me, or that I could never forgive them for something they said or did ten years ago. But for all that, I realise that I am at this stage in my life, living in happiness and comfort because of the person they raised me to become. Because of the choices they constantly encouraged me to make. And I can't imagine the burden of raising a tiny human and hoping to God that it turns out okay. In some way or the other, I feel that I owe my everything to all the experiences I had growing up as their daughter, in their home. They taught me so much through both the happiness they gave me and the tears I had to shed because of them. And I'm grateful to them for not one, but many life lessons.

But before you get distracted by all the mushiness above, let me bring your attention back to the original point of this post - Not only does my Daddy NOT poop, but he also flies. And I'm pretty sure my mom does too although she's a bit more discreet about it the way she is about most things (she switches channels on TV the minute people start kissing because obviously I was conceived asexually and obviously that's how my kids will come into this world as well). So what is your Superhuman's super-power?

#throwbackthursday

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