My Superhero Cannot Fly

I remember the first day of showing Avengers: End Game in the Philippines. I have never seen such crowd in a cinema before. It looked like everyone left their homes to be the first ones to watch it. People are going crazy over superhero stories and I understand why. Superheroes make things easier; they turn the impossible into something possible. One of the best things that I like about them is they are mostly kindhearted, not to mention cool creatures. They are unique in a way that they have superpowers and use them for good purposes. Stories of superheroes can be very enticing and exciting. They have such dramatic origins that somehow capture the viewers. Besides their superpowers, revealing their weaknesses makes humans like us empathize with them. I have a superhero story which changed my life. It is one of a kind and something that I will keep forever. My birth was undesirable because both my parents were unprepared during that time. I was years ahead of my planned arrival and my birth changed their lives. Four years later, my brother was born. I remember having a simple life growing up with him. Our extended family had enough to survive and our life was nothing close to extravagance but we were happy. In September 2000, my grandfather died and it changed everything. Having lost our breadwinner, we had to make adjustments in budgeting and spending. It was also the start of misunderstandings between my parents which eventually led to their separation. We lost our savings because of an investment scam. Everything was not sinking in until when I finished my primary education. The consequences of those happenings penetrated our lives. I was angry. I knew I was because I could feel my teeth baring; I was feeling hot and flushed inside. I could not hear anything aside from my increased heart rate. I wanted to take revenge. During those toughest times of my life, someone stood by my side. She is my grandmother. When my grandpa finally succumbed to an illness, grandma assumed all his responsibilities. Honestly, when he was still around, I did not enjoy her company. She was always wearing a white coat with her thick eyeglasses on. She wanted everything to be in order, and her presence alone would scare anyone away. She, unlike grandpa, was very particular with house rules and limitations. As a kid, I didn't like how she was and I remember doing everything just to avoid her. Unfortunately, I had no choice but to stay with her. She was getting stricter as days passed by and there were some days I just could not handle. She had rules that were too good to be true, but the grandchildren needed to obey. One day, I was asked to accompany her at work. As we arrived at our destination, people have already lined up like those in supermarkets during holidays sale. Grandma wore her white coat and started talking to those people. She is a doctor. She would raise her eyebrows at parents whose babies were obviously not receiving the right care. She was fierce but compassionate in a way that she spent extra time and even almost skipped meals just to accommodate more patients. After that experience, I started to see her from a new lens and recognized those things she has been doing for us. She would provide for our needs and even help us with our assignments. She would encourage us whenever my brother and I had competitions, and would tell us how proud she is whether we win or lose. Her rules helped us understand and embrace the value of self-control and self-discipline. One day, I noticed a big scar on her chest and found out she is a cancer survivor. Her scar says a lot about how much of a survivor and fighter she is. The pain she went through is beyond my comprehension, yet she chose to live and overcome her own trials. My grandmother reminds me that sometimes it is good to fail and not get the things that I want, because failures keep me grounded, and influence me to work harder. She has taught me that the best investments in life are those that money cannot buy. Cherish relationships, value integrity, and do good. At present, my brother is a soldier and I am a social worker helping those individuals and families who are recovering from the ill effects of substance abuse. We are helping people in our own ways. My grandmother is still with us and we are doing our best as grandchildren to give her what she deserves, and to make her even prouder. Not all superheroes have superpowers just like my grandma. She can neither go through walls nor run as fast as a cheetah, but she has something extraordinary with her and I call it β€œlove.” Her love saved me from those times I almost gave up; her love outweighed my anger and made me appreciate the brighter side of situations. Because of her love, I have learned to forgive and live a life that I can be proud of, a life that is of service to people. My grandma cannot fly, but she has always been and will always be my superhero.

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Michael Kelso

Author of 'Endzone', 'One on One' and 'Fragme...

Schellsburg, United States