How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

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How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed May 21, 2008 7:27 pm UTC

A common part of growing up I feel is transitioning (or not!) from the belief that your parents are superhuman-->people like everyone else. Maybe it's when your father couldn't toss you onto his shoulders, or your mother became frazzled over something... I'm interested in these stories, and think they are often pretty beautiful and funny and sad and telling. We hold our parents to a different standard then other parents, other people, and because of this, our perceptions of their actions is heavily biased. So maybe your parents did something that convinced you they were telepathic demigods, maybe (more likely) they did something that convinced you they were oblivious to reality. I'm not interested in on going things ("My dad keeps trying to put mustard on my hotdogs, I'm a vegan and hate mustard"), I'm interested in singular events.

So, this is in serious business and I request that you not make the thread into 'My dad punched some dude and it was awesome!' or the like, unless of course, that is legitimately the tale you choose to tell.

So you know, tell a story about something your parents did that transitioned them from Godhood to Peoplehood, or Peoplehood to Godhood.

I heard this tale, but I'm not sure if it's true:
Family trip to the grand canyon, everyone is tired and cranky. It's hot out, and a gust of wind comes and blows the hat off the father, and he's bald and will get burnt so this means its time to go and everyone is still tired and cranky. The dad smiles and throws one hand in the air saying "Well, another one will come along" and JUST then, another hat flies into his open hand and he puts it on his head, PERFECT FIT! That's when my buddy realized his dad was a God.

My story is the opposite. My father is infallible and perfect, a secret agent and a debonair tycoon. We were flying from Israel when I was 13 and a black out grounded all the planes, and stuck us with a 6 hour layover. At hour 5, in the non-air conditioned, dark building, it was announced that it would be at least another 3 hours. My dad leaned on the counter to speak with the woman attendant, and she had unbuttoned her shirt due to the heat. I followed my dad's gaze right down to her cleavage, and realized he was human,an exhausted, exasperated, intrigued-by-boobies human just like the rest of us.
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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby Robin S » Wed May 21, 2008 7:38 pm UTC

There was no definitive moment, but one of the most significant landmarks I can think of was around the period from December 2003, when my mum lost her father just before his 91st birthday, to April 2004, when she lost her mother to Alzheimer's, and my dad collapsed in a fit completely unexpectedly a few hours before we found out - he had to have a tumour removed from his brain, and was given a decade or so to live (he was 53).
This is a placeholder until I think of something more creative to put here.

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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby Freakish » Wed May 21, 2008 8:16 pm UTC

My dad once fell off the roof, but according to him, he started to fall then jumped.
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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby TheBeeCeeEmm » Wed May 21, 2008 8:40 pm UTC

Probably when my parents were unable to help me with my math homework anymore. In like 7th grade.
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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby Dazmilar » Wed May 21, 2008 10:07 pm UTC

Seems a bit unfair to get too cocky about parents having trouble with 7th grade math. "Hey, mom, dad! Can you help me with something you haven't done in 40 years?"

I thought my dad was superhuman because he could touch the top of the refridgerator. Interesting what your perception of the world is like when you're a child.

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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby tiny » Wed May 21, 2008 11:00 pm UTC

My glorified picture of my parents crashed to pieces when I found out that a) their bank account wasn't inexhaustable and b) I actually wasn't half as dumb as my dad wanted me to feel.
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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby Hammer » Wed May 21, 2008 11:05 pm UTC

Just FYI folks: This thread is not developing in a way that qualifies it for SB. That's fine, but if it doesn't turn into something other than anecdotes about parents, I'm going to move it to General tomorrow morning.
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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby ParanoidDrone » Thu May 22, 2008 6:08 am UTC

At the risk of continuing the General trend, I'll say that my vision of parents as unshakable paragons of virtue shattered when I got fed up with my stepmother and jumped ship to live with my mom. (I was 15, if anyone cares.) In a similar vein, it took a while for me to shift my view of my stepfather from a computer know-it-all (I had incredibly limited computer exposure until this point.) to just another person with internet access.

In an attempt to steer this in another direction, I'll also say that the realization that parents are human is just a part of growing up. I guess it sort of ties in with the teen rebellion phase a bit--"Hey, my parents are human, too. I don't like what they're making me do." (Hmm, that rhymes.) Although, this also works on everything that's new, I guess. I know in my case that I first saw computers as magical, delicate things that weren't to be touched, then as just another tool to use, then I actually started knowing what the hell I was doing and was able to make it do what I wanted.

...interesting how one can draw some parallels between the computer and parents. "Don't bother me, I'm busy." -> "Dad, can I have 20 bucks?" -> "Of course we'll let you live here while you're looking for a job." That last one may/may not be stretching it a bit, I haven't gotten that far in my life yet. <_<

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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby DarkFortuneKookie » Thu May 22, 2008 2:51 pm UTC

It depends on how your parents treat you. I've never wanted to become like my parents; as far back as I can remember that is the case. Why? Psychoposessive father, Passive Submissive mother. After the 1st or 2nd time your father tries to commit suicide and your parents try to cover it up, the "wow this guy is great I want to be like him" becomes "Wow, this guy is trying to off himself, better figure out a way to survive".

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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby Hurduser » Thu May 22, 2008 3:41 pm UTC

I think my parents became humans when my bro was in hospital and they couldn't magically make everything right again like I thought parents could...
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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby Kikral » Thu May 22, 2008 4:07 pm UTC

I realized my parents were humans when they were ever hurt, or had to go in for surgery. Although I still cannot except them as just ordinary people because they gave birth to me, they aren't exactly seen as omnipotent in my eyes anymore.
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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby mike » Thu May 22, 2008 4:18 pm UTC

There are some pretty deep comments in this so far, faiplay to that.

I was going to say I realised my dad wasn't superhuman when I found out I was stronger than him (or as strong atleast, physically fitter would cut it, yeah). But I guess it was when he told me he was breaking up with my mum, and he had, had an affair. Or maybe when he told me he was adopted, he didn't tell me until I was 17, but he had told everyone else.

But the time I realised I have great respect for that man was when it was his mothers funeral and nobody told him that he could say some words during the ceremony, but the night before his sister let slip that he could and he jumped at the opportunity despite everyone knowing how hard it had hit him (he never showed it). He stood up infront of everyone and said some pretty moving words. GREAT RESPECT.

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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu May 22, 2008 4:28 pm UTC

When my father's mother died I saw him cry for the first time, which brought me to tears.

I wonder about this transition though, from thinking of them as untouchable to realizing they are fallible. It was pretty shattering to me, it turned a lot of what I knew about the world on it's head. I think part of being a parent is protecting your child from the world, and part protecting a child is preventing them from seeing certain things until they are ready for it. Parents buffers from the world, and when that buffer is removed, a bit of the worlds harshness/beauty/terror leaks in that you weren't seeing before.
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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby pseudoidiot » Thu May 22, 2008 4:38 pm UTC

Not so much a moment, but when a large factory in my hometown shut down a lot of people (including my Mom) were left without jobs. My Mom had raised me by herself most of my life and she was in her 40's when this happened. Luckily the factory paid for a small amount of schooling for all the employees. It wasn't much, but it was enough to get started and my Mom ended up staying and getting a 4-year degree. She got her college diploma the same year I graduated from high school. To this day I'm extremely proud of how hard she worked to get through all those classes -- and with good grades!
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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby la_negra » Thu May 22, 2008 8:31 pm UTC

I have always thought that my dad is extremely tough person, who isn't able to show his feelings. But once he had a terrible accident (backbone fracture, he's been very lucky that he survived without any serious health problems), and I came to visit him in the hospital, and when I was leaving, I saw him crying. It was the first time I saw him crying. It was very touching, but also a bit shocking for me.
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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby clintonius » Thu May 22, 2008 10:30 pm UTC

Excellent topic. I've actually thought about this exact thing before, and I'm glad to see I'm not the only one. I think I remember the exact conversation I had with my mother that brought reality into my perception of her. I had long had the concept that she could be "wrong" on a micro level (the example above where parents couldn't remember how to do 7th grade math is what I'm talking about), but also always believed that, ultimately and with matters that were important, she knew what was up and had perfect judgment. It was about 8th grade when we sat down to have one of our very rare serious discussions, and in the process of pouring out to one another, she told me that she sometimes wished she wouldn't have married my step-father. Big hit.

With my father, I was 20. I had just gotten back from a four-month trip to Central America with a group from my college, and was taking a road trip with him to Portland where he had a meeting or something. On the way we saw a homeless man with a cardboard sign next to the freeway, and dad flipped out, talking about how the restaurant we were going to for breakfast was 100 yards down the road and the guy should waltz in there and ask to wash dishes, and how his dad (my grandfather) worked through the Great Depression, and pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, and all that jazz. Keep in mind that I had just spent some time in a couple of the most impoverished countries in the hemisphere and had gained a great sympathy for people who were unable to find work. All I was able to muster at the moment was, "maybe he knows something about his situation that you don't." It made me aware that even great, intellectual pappy is capable of making blanket statements informed by his biases rather than evidence.

Izawwlgood wrote:I wonder about this transition though, from thinking of them as untouchable to realizing they are fallible. It was pretty shattering to me, it turned a lot of what I knew about the world on it's head. I think part of being a parent is protecting your child from the world, and part protecting a child is preventing them from seeing certain things until they are ready for it. Parents buffers from the world, and when that buffer is removed, a bit of the worlds harshness/beauty/terror leaks in that you weren't seeing before.

This brings up some interesting topics for discussion. You say that "part of protecting a child is preventing them from seeing certain things until they are ready for it," but that, after the often shocking experience of an epiphany that your parents can fuck up, they are removed as a buffer. So would you say that this doesn't happen until the child is ready for it? I mean, I'm sure there are a multitude of examples we could point to in hindsight and say, "I really should have caught on to my parents' fallibility earlier," but it seems that the realization doesn't come until adolescence or later. Is it that our psyches have matured enough to be "ready for it?" Or is that, for whatever reason, this one experience causes an epiphany and the corresponding paradigmatic shift, and that causes our psyche to mature?
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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby Turambar » Fri May 23, 2008 8:42 am UTC

I used to think my dad was Superman. Then I found out he was just an ordinary guy in a cape.

In all seriousness, though, I can't remember ever viewing my parents as superhuman. They're good parents, but they've never pretended to be perfect, and for some reason I can't recall that I ever formed an image of them as infallible or great or whatever. I guess what was more of a shock was realizing that adults are sometimes hostile and angry towards each other in their interactions, though compared to the way a 5-year-old expresses anger, it's usually quite subtle. I suppose that shattered the general adult myth for me, rather than a specifically parental myth. It was actually really disturbing to me. Kind of realizing that people don't gradually become perfect with age, and that all adults aren't the mature, authoritative beings full of equanimity that they're made out to be.
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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby Awia » Fri May 23, 2008 7:47 pm UTC

I never really believed my Parents were super human and perfect, mainly because they always told me they weren't perfect, and that everyone has their little flaws.
But, as Turambar said, it was more of a shock finding that Adults were able to be angry, and to hate.
I always thought that adults always sat down and talked though their differences, and would always come to a perfect solution to any problem.
That was rather annoying when my childish problems started to become more complicated and my parents couldn't come to a solution about them.
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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby annals » Fri May 23, 2008 9:39 pm UTC

I don't remember ever idealizing my parents. I've always respected them and their opinions, but I always knew that they were fallible. I think it may have been because of my brothers, on whom they are way too lenient. I saw them say things should be one way and threaten consequenses, and then never carry those threats out. That was always a source of frustration for me, and gave me that "I could do this better!" feeling.

Of course, me wanting to see my little brothers cry had nothing to do with it.

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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby fersrs » Sat May 31, 2008 5:46 am UTC

Either when my dad accidentally kicked a soccer ball in my face, or when my parents divorced

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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby Funky_Llama » Sat May 31, 2008 9:54 am UTC

I would think that for most people - myself included - it's less a case of your parents doing something stupid, or otherwise human, and more that as you grow up and become more perceptive, you just come to realise that they're not in any way superhuman.

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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby SlyReaper » Sat May 31, 2008 1:08 pm UTC

For me, it would have to be when my Dad had a brief attack of amnesia, and didn't recognise me or Mum. Scary as hell, because until that point, I had always thought of him as the big strong grizzly bear who would protect us from anything in the world.
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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby d271828b » Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:32 am UTC

Mine is pretty much literally the former case. My earliest memory is from before I was two. My dad was carrying me and put me down in my crib, and I remember thinking that he was just the most amazing, most powerful person in the world. I didn't understand most of what adults said, but I knew about God: God is male (due to pronouns) and God can do anything... so I put this together and logically thought my dad was God. Further, I thought when people discussed God, they were talking about him. (I thought my mom was omnipotent, too, but since my dad was God, she must 'just' be omnipotent, but not God.)

I'm not really sure when I realized my parents were human... I think that was more of a gradual thing. But the "My dad is God" realization is still incredibly sharp for me. And honestly... both my parents are awesome, so while they may not be omnipotent, that feeling of wonder and awe and respect is still there for them. \end sentimentality

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Re: How you knew your parents were Gods/Humans

Postby Azrael001 » Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:22 am UTC

It is weird for me, my parents were divorced before I could remember and I can't remember not having a step-mom. From a very early age I had lost all respect for my mother, who was is verbally abusive and manipulative. My dad and his wife however were kind, patient and loving. This ended up elevating them to a higher level than they would have possibly been at had my step-mother been my biological mother.

The basic story is this:

Spoilered for long windedness.
Spoiler:
My mother decided that she wanted a baby, she picked up my dad while she was working at a bar. He fit her criteria, he looked like good breeding stock (her actual words to him later) and he was plastered. Convincing him that a condom was unnecessary as she was on the pill (she wasn't) she became pregnant with me. Her original plan was to raise me on her own, though once she realized that she needed money, she contacted my dad, who insisted on getting married.

Wanting only the money and not the husband, my mother conspired with her lawyer to get him out while keeping us (my brother had been born by this time). Her lawyer told her to get him to leave, to make it look like he was the dead-beat. She called in false abuse reports to the police, which went on record, but didn't cause any charges to be laid, harassed him constantly, and eventually told him that she had been cheating on him. He made a verbal agreement with her that he would leave and that we would alternate two weeks with each parent. She kept us the first two weeks so that he could find a place to stay. When he showed up to pick us up, she called the cops on him, and claimed that he was trying to kidnap us. He did not get to keep us for those two weeks.

For a while she worked as a nurse, but she was soon laid off and spent the next 7-10 years living off of welfare and child support. Meanwhile the whole time my dad is fighting for custody and spending a fortune in legal fees.


To make a long story short, he eventually gets custody, I see the "reverse sexism" of the legal system and my dad and step-mom are heroes for getting us away from the psycho lady.

My dad luckily is not an "average Joe" so I don't feel bad for idolizing him as much as I do. He worked his way from floor sweeper to plant manager at the place he worked at (while the above was happening) and is still one of the strongest people I know. He has worked his body to the breaking point though, and is falling apart now, though most of the time you would never know it. He has also still got the most skill at almost everything that I have seen in a person.
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