Many of us grew up watching and idolizing superheroes like Superman, Captain America, and many others. Despite being exposed to all those famous and powerful superheroes, there was one man in my life that I idolized that wasn’t a superhero, but he is super, and he is my hero; as cliché as that sounds, it’s true— the man I am referring to is my father.

My father is a man who has been through many things, he grew up in a broken a family and had to work to finish high school and college. Basically, he was dealt with difficult cards, but he never gave up. When he and mom met, he made it his duty to give my mom the life she deserves. And when they had me and my sister, he worked even harder. My father wasn’t some big shot, he was always the kind of man who kept his head and gave it his 110% performance which is why it broke his heart when the company he worked for, for many years decided to cut off a huge number of employees, and he was one of them. With a stay at home wife and kids in school, he knew he had to do something.

From taking a corporate job, he went to working as a restaurant waiter by day and a security guard by night. He didn’t want to wait, he knew bills kept rolling in. I tried convincing him to wait and find work more in line to the work he did before, but he replied with “The work I do doesn’t matter, it’s the ability to provide for you all is what matters to me.” For the first time in a long time, I was reminded of how much my dad loves us.

For 4 years, my dad would come home late and leave the house early. But, he does make sure to join us for breakfast. Even if he works for long hours, you can see that during breakfast, he listens intently when we talk even if his eyes do get droopy. He never misses a celebration. Sometimes, he even makes the effort of cooking for us, while his hand shake of fatigue. On weekends, he helps mom with chores. He does move slower, because his muscles are sore.

My dad just turned 59 a few weeks ago. As we were celebrating, I looked at him more closely; he still is the kind and jolly father I’ve always had, but something was different. I wanted to cry because I realized, I was losing time. I see more smile lines now. His hair was whiter. His skin is starting to sag. His voice was getting weaker. I realized that I always knew and saw the effort my dad put into our family, but never its effect on him completely. He never complained about all the work he had to do, the effects of it to him and never asked anything in return. I looked at him and I felt like my father has spent most of his life working to provide comfort for his family.

Now that I’ve graduated college, I can start working to provide him the ease and comfort he’s always given us. I don’t know how much time he has left, but I want to make sure that he will always be reminded that my father is better than all the superhero in the movies—because he’s a real one.