As I’ve said in previous posts, I do love my comic book superheroes. I admire their strength, their dedication to fighting crime, protecting the innocent and being extremely awesome, all around. But I also have some real-life heroes that I have always looked up to and loved. I’d like to share with you a little about them and the reasons why I consider them heroes.
My very first hero was my mother. She faced many challenges long before I was born and it wasn’t until much later in my life that I learned of a few of them. She was patient with me, (which was a superhuman feat, considering just how far I tested that patience and how often) gave me unconditional love, tried to educate me about morals and faith; she represented to me what it is to have true faith. Her strength of personality and her dedication to her family was amazing. She has five sons and two daughters and to say she had her hands full would be a gross understatement, but she handled it (I thought) with grace and always with love. I’ll never forget the time that I was freaking out (that’s putting it kindly) having a grand tantrum and she very quietly got up, went to the kitchen and came back with a large pitcher of very cold water, which she proceeded to throw in my face! Exit tantrum and enter shock. It had that effect. Stopped me cold and only then did I look into her eyes and see the anger and frustration. But she never raised a hand to slap my bratty face, though I’m sure the thought crossed her mind. She was the first person to show me love, real love and faith.
My second hero was my father, for altogether different reasons. He treated me like an adult, told me all about computer programming, his day at the office and all sorts of other things I couldn’t understand at my pre-teen age. I inherited my love of books, of logic and of the study of the human condition, as well as my work ethic. I worked for him when I was thirteen and learned data entry, along with how to consume insane amounts of coffee throughout the day. He was a complex man and as with most complex humans, was never truly appreciated for his gifts, as they came with their own set of complications, for lack of a better word. He was a man who was sick with alcoholism, but was somehow able to heal himself and emerge with his True Self in tact, having battled and successfully slayed the beast through his own strength of will and enormous faith.
I have admired all of my six siblings, for different reasons at different times in my life, but they all have one common trait that I am so grateful for; they never gave up on me and to this day, encourage me not only with their words, but with how they live their lives and meet the challenges that Life presents to them.
My sister has been my second mother for all of my life, as well as having to share a room with me when I was an absolute and unadulterated slob. She visited me during my hospitalization and talked to me as if I was a normal person, not in a mental hospital for suicidal idealizations. She has been that kind of mother to not only her three children, but to all of us. I know she had to sacrifice a great deal of her childhood to shoulder the responsibility of watching over her siblings, but she did the impossible, with grace and love.
Brother #1 (birth order, not order of favor) is the most responsible, down to earth, loving man I have ever met. He watched out for me and watched over me all through my childhood and when I first heard the expression “still waters run deep” I immediately thought of my brother. He is father to two gorgeous children, husband to a woman who is his equal in kindness, love and faith. He is the hardest working family man and I still feel like a little kid whenever I’m around him. He is quiet, but his strength is there, always.
Brothers #2 & #3 are the closest in birth, with only 18 months between them, if my math is correct. They are totally different in personality, one quiet and retiring; the other, outgoing, outspoken and in constant motion. Both of them have been great older brothers to me, allowing me to tag along with them and assault them with a barrage of questions and requests, but guardians and partners in mischief. I can’t imagine any of their friends thought it was a treat to have a younger sister constantly showing up, but they never said a word.
Brothers #4 & #5 are also very different in personality, but as my younger brothers, they were alternately tortured and picked on by me, but God help the idiot that tried to mess with them; I would make certain that said idiot would see big a mistake they were making, trying to mess with my little brothers. They have always been there for me and always and without fail, provide support and love to me. They have given me courage to overcome so much and I count them as my “big little brothers” for they look out for me as well as my big brothers.
I could go on and on about my family; I love them all and admire them for their strengths, their ability to survive, adapt and overcome all that they encounter. We are a tough bunch and although we don’t always agree, we never stop loving each other. This is no small feat and is a rarity these days.
My best friend from forever ago has watched me kiss the edge of insanity, come back and then go out again so many times, I would think she’d be able to write a book about that itself. She has been a single mother from a very young age, yet is the best mother to all four of her children and represents the best example of unconditional, unwavering love. She has stood by me through thick and thin, been my partner in many adventures during our younger years and has stayed the truest friend I have to this day. She is my hero for being a strong woman, but also for thinking for herself and not letting ignorant people’s opinions stray her from her chosen path. She is unconventional, unapologetic and the most beautiful woman I know, inside and out. She has dealt with disappointment, heartbreak and obstacles with a determination that makes steel look weak. She has my friendship for always and forever and is my soul sister.
These are a few of my heroes; I have many more and perhaps one day I will write about them. For now, I will have to leave you with this thought:
You are a hero to someone; you may not know it, but by your actions or your words, you have given someone the strength to carry on. By your kindness and praise, you’ve given someone hope for happiness. By your unconditional love, you’ve given life to the realization of someone’s potential. By not walking away when things get tough, you’ve given someone the most precious gift of all, your time and your faith in them.