When our children are young, we guide them as much as we can, hoping we're teaching them the right things that will serve them in their adult lives. We never think we do enough, and we always think we made lots of mistakes. Recently, I've had the opportunity to witness the results of it all.
Our daughter has been looking for a better job. She is a single mom who struggles to make ends meet. In addition to working a full-time, thankless job, she home schools her two sons, who are 13 and 11. Saying that she has full days is the understatement of all time. Worried about her job security and with no savings to fall back on, she is doing all she can to better her situation, pursuing every job opportunity and interviewing in the few hours she can spare each week. It pains me to see her constantly tired and stressed, and I never cease to be amazed at how she continues to be a good mother and provider. To me, she is a heroine.
Our son has a dream to be a working actor, theatre director and acting coach. It's a dream he's had since he was a kid, and he has successfully strived toward his goal for many years. He has always had "day jobs" to support himself, but, in recent years, those have become more important as he now has to support himself, his wife and their young son. At times, he has had to work two jobs, with no time left to pursue his dream. Well, last Tuesday, that dream was put on hold again. The job that allowed him to work on his computer from home, thus enabling him to be with his 22-month old son during the day, has been taken from him; a victim of the economic debacle. I have watched him immediately put a plan into gear to rein in their finances, to get his resume updated and out to prospective employers, and to struggle with the reality that he won't have as many luxury hours with his little boy anymore. He has admitted to disappointment and some fear, but he keeps looking ahead. To me, he is a hero.
I don't mean to imply that my children are perfect; and I certainly don't think that I am arrogant enough to believe my husband and I raised perfect children. But I do feel that we must have done pretty well with them, giving them the basic tenets of responsibility and caring. I also think that they have matured on their own, taking whatever might be given them and figuring out how to deal with it.
They both bring tears to me eyes when I'm worrying about them, but the tears say more about my acknowledgement of their struggles than about my fear for what they are experiencing right now. "Pride" is a word that hardly befits what I feel about their efforts. I certainly am proud of them both, but it goes beyond that. So "heroine" and "hero" are the descriptions I choose - and I believe no other terms could be more fitting.