Written by: Jeremy Baumhower
Today is Father’s Day. A day designed to celebrate and honor the ‘dad’ in your life, either living or dead, biological or not.
For boys, Father’s Day is a time to bask in the great memories of our childhood; filled with images of playing catch, learning how to change the oil on the family truckster or being chased down the block after you tried your father for the first. Maybe you remember the exact moment when your dad blew you away with advice you’d never expect to hear.
This is of course for most boys.
I want you now to imagine a lifetime where you never actually remember meeting your father. A life where everything you know of him is through stories people tell you and pictures in a book or frame. A childhood that everyday features a person who points out how you have your father’s eyes or his chin, but you have no idea because you can’t remember him. These comments happen so often, so regularly that your brains trains itself to say the same thing in response… “Thank You, my mom thinks so”, as you force a smile.
A life, where at the age of four weeks old… your father gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country or his city.
What do those boys think about on Father’s day?
We have two boys locally that are living this life; One lost his dad this past January fighting a fire and the other defending his country in Iraq in 2005.
In these boys’ minds there are no differences between their dad and superheroes like Batman or Spiderman. Their childhood is filled with people telling them these amazing tales of what their dad did, of who he was and of how he was a hero.
This is the very same way we tell our children about those fictional characters who save lives, fight for good and sometimes have superpowers. Instead of cities like Gotham or Metropolis, these boys hear of places like Tikrit and Perkins Township. Similar to Spiderman with Mary Jane or Superman with Lois Lane, there is a running love story that feature names of a ‘Tiffany’ and a ‘Girl Jamie’.
Most boys have dreams of the Justice League or the Avengers, Myles Eckert and Grant Dickman will live a lifetime with visions filled of two different superhero teams, the United States Army and the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department.
Some dream of men wearing capes and tights, these boys will dream of men wearing camouflage fatigues and firefighter gear. Some superheroes can run lightning fast or fly invisible airplanes, these two superheroes climb ladders and drive tanks.
We can only pray that a boy who lives a life where everything he knows about his dad is told to him, will come out exactly as his father would have wanted or dreamed. It’s our responsibility as their neighbors, to do everything in our powers to make that a reality.
It’s way too early to say for sure about who Grant Dickman will grow to be, because he is only six months old; if he is anything like this nine year old Myles, everything will be OK. That kid is trying to change the world, just like his dad tried to defend it.
As you celebrate today with your father or children or both, think about three families that can’t; the Eckerts, the Dickmans and Machcinskis
For Myles and Marlee Eckert & Grant and Paige Dickman… Happy Superheroes Day.
For everyone else who is blessed with actual memories and or maybe a person still to throw some catch with… Happy Father’s day!
Dedicated to Sgt. Gary “Andy” Eckert, father of Two & Private James Dickman, father of two.