Not all heroes wear capes. Some heroes are just ordinary dudes who start falling for a girl who has a kid and decides that it isn’t a deal-breaker. Some are just guys who respect boundaries, who accept automatically being priority #2. These are the men who invest their time and energy into a kid that doesn’t have their blood running through their veins.
Not all heroes wear capes. Some heroes choose to love a kid that isn’t biological theirs. They may become the only father-figure in that kid’s life, taking on a new role with an open mind and open heart. Or they may become a Bonus-Dad; navigating a new life of co-parenting without complaint and managing to weather the initial discomfort. They look at a child who is imperfect, who doesn’t have their eyes, or their nose, or their great head of hair; and choose to love them. They choose to coach Little League or drive to football practice right after work. Hours are spent promising, “I won’t let go” as little legs pedal a bicycle without training wheels for the first time (and then let go, because they will learn to ride this bike!). They show up and they care.
They join a family that is already started and join in on traditions that they may not understand. Work vacations are planned around school vacations. They plan hikes, or trips to the zoo, or a day in Boston to get burgers. They buy the good snacks, the fun video games, and the cool sneakers.
Not all heroes can defeat Thanos. They may not have a secret BatCave (but they might have a man-cave, if they’re lucky). Not all heroes have super technologically advanced suits to fight their battles. They may not even have a movie, a comic book, or a T-shirt with their face on it.
Some heroes fall for a girl who has a kid and then fall for the kid too. It takes a hero to choose to parent, to choose to love, a child that they didn’t help create. Above all, it takes a hero to treat that child exactly as he would treat his own.
Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear World’s Greatest Bonus-Dad tee shirts as they grill burgers surrounded by their freshly mowed lawn.
Happy Father’s Day to all the men who stepped up and made a child’s life better just by being in it. Maybe next year someone will get you a cape.