My husband is a real life superhero. I don't just say that because he works hard and he's a good dad, I say it for many other reasons too.
1. Being that he's an ironworker, technically I can call him my own personal Iron Man. It's corny, I know, but there's so much to what he does, to what all Ironworkers do, that makes them superhuman. What we see as dangerous and insane they see as just another day.
2. The field of iron working really is the backbone (or steel frame) of America. They build our majestic skyscrapers, our town halls, our schools and hospitals that educate and care for our families, the sports stadiums where we watch our favorite games, the arenas where our kids play sports, the airplane hangers that our military parks their airplanes, and so much more.
3. They really do scale tall buildings like a superhero, but without capes. Which brings me to my next reason, which, in my opinion, is the most important one.
4. Ironworkers literally risk their lives each and every day. They all have their own reasons for doing what they do, and one of the reasons my husband does it is to provide for his family. He rarely ever complains as he wakes up before dawn to head out for the day. While me and the kids are sleeping soundly, he ties up his work boots and quietly gives me a kiss. He might not know it, but I'm always awake and always grateful that he takes the time to do that. We have two paintings above our bed: “Always kiss me goodnight,” and “Always kiss me goodbye.” The goodnight one was my idea, but the goodbye one was his idea because he wanted a daily reminder that every morning could be the last time we say goodbye, so take nothing for granted. Then he pushes that thought out of his head, hops in his truck, and ventures off to wherever the job requires. Most days he works sun up to sundown in the blistering heat or bitter cold. Sometimes in the snow, rain, or wind. The only relief he gets from extreme weather conditions is a few days in the fall and spring if the temperature is perfect or if it's raining so hard that they have to call it a day.
A few times a year he has to travel out of state for work. Anywhere from four to 14 hours away from home. Usually to a place where it's much hotter or colder than he's accustomed to. Sometimes he's only gone for a week, other times he's gone for a few months. He might get a weekend to come home during that time but only if the job is running on schedule. If so, then he spends the only two days in a row that he has off, driving several hours to and from home for sometimes only one night with his family. He's missed birthdays, anniversaries, school plays, sports games, first steps, first words, and so much more that he will never get back. Iron workers not only risk their lives, but their marriages and other relationships as well. Over time they become tough, calloused, and even numb, when necessary. They find their coping mechanism and hold on for dear life. Their bodies age much faster than ours. They are tired in more ways than you can imagine. It's hard to understand why anyone would choose to live a life like this, but those who do it might argue that this life chose them. That once they started, it became ingrained in them. Some have left to venture down other roads, but most come back to it because it runs in their veins.
From what I gather through late night talks with my husband or overhearing the laughing and reminiscing of the guys at our barbecues, is that iron working is a brotherhood. They are a big family made up of a strong group of crazy ass guys who would do anything for each other, and in some cases have. They have watched each other rise, and watched some fall. They have watched some lose everything that matters to them, and they have watched some even lose their lives. They are strong, resilient, and amazing. They are superheroes.