Tag Archives: heroes

True Heroes: Guest Post by Kerry White

2 Jan

I go through phases where I spend a lot of time whining about how tough my life is. I’m working too much, I’m commuting for too long, I have too much to do when I get home, I get too little sleep. In the end, though, I’m always able to give my head a shake and reflect on the fact that I don’t have to do it alone. By the time I get home at the end of the work-day, the kids are home and fed. I have a husband who carries laundry baskets up and down the stairs so I don’t have to do it myself. I have someone to talk to at the end of the day, and when I go to bed at night, I have the physical and emotional warmth of another human being – one who may drive me nuts from time to time, but who I love and trust and wouldn’t want to trade for anyone in the world.

I have all the respect in the world for single parents, and often I wonder: how the hell does anyone do this alone? It’s hard enough to parent when there are two of you. Today’s post comes to us from one of those people I respect and admire so much. Kerry White is, like me, a transplanted South African. She lives in Texas, where she works as a freelance writer and raises her adorable little son. I am honoured to start of 2012 with this message of inspiration from a mom who helps us keep it all in perspective.

Thinking about what to write for this great and upbeat post was giving me a bit of a headache. I truly wanted to find that inner positive spirit I know I’ve got somewhere! I’ve been feeling so very Grinchy lately because it seems that the entire Universe has conspired against me to give me no end of grief in many areas. My son was sick with repeated rounds of ear infections, bronchitis, and a stomach virus, all in the span of 30 days. It was his 3rd birthday this month and I was so tired with a definite lack of funds in the bank so we sort of just didn’t do anything. I lost several high-value clients due to my need to put my son’s health and care first over their projects. I had someone steal my bank card information on the eve of Christmas Eve. Well, the list goes on and my own blog is filled with angst… but I am going to stop right here, right now.

This isn’t about being down and out. Because the truth is that, while things might be a bit of a challenge for me right now, I am still doing pretty okay considering everything else. My son’s health problems, while irritating and frustrating for us both, are fairly minor. My bank account will recover with a bit of hard work and a few nights of missed sleep for me. My son’s health issues do tend to clear up, with time and antibiotics.

Our house is warm, we have one another, and we have support from those who care about us. There’s even a special fella I’d love to make a much more prominent factor in our lives.

So often those supportive friends of mine tell me that I am a hero in their eyes, a supermom, and a super mom. However, I don’t feel it. I truly don’t. This led me to two other trains of thought.

There are parents who go through so much more with their darling children. Illnesses from which they will never recover, incredible and never-ending financial strife, endless trips to doctor’s offices, trips to the hospital from which their children may never return to their home, parents living in their cars or otherwise relying on the kindness of others to help them and their family. I have friends who were blessed to hold their babies in their arms, but for such a short amount of time before letting them go. I have friends who are parents without children in their arms yet.

Those are the true heroes, the super moms, the super dads, the superparents. They deserve the credit, they deserve the respect, they deserve the love, and the help. Truthfully, every parent needs to hear that they’re doing a pretty okay job at this parenting gig.

As parents, as people who care, we need to recognize in each other the greatness and the pure selflessness of loving parents. Sure things can be tough, rough, and overwhelming. But it seems to be the rare parent who doesn’t find things to be a challenge in one way or another. We need to support, encourage, and help one another realize that this is a big ole job and that it’s okay to not get everything perfect sometimes.

We’re going to feel like we’re at the end of our rope, we’re going to fall on the ground sobbing and begging whatever Powers That Be who may be listening to please friggen help us! But, with the support and help from our friends who may have been there, we can get through it! Maybe not with our sanity intact and our hair brushed, but get through it we will.

It takes a village, right? I think it goes a little bit further than that for parents; it takes a worldwide network of parental support to raise these kids we’ve been blessed with. 2012 is a great opportunity for us to start over, make resolutions to eat less, love more, and just be the support we need to be for others who are perhaps struggling just a little bit more than we are today.

I, for one, am counting my blessings now. I am counting my amazing friends and family members, including my amazing grandmother who is always there to answer the phone when I need support after a particularly challenging day. I wish for you nothing but strength, love, support, and the wisdom to know when you need to reach out to someone for support.

(Photo credit: Jorge Diaz1)

To Serve And Protect

10 Nov

This morning, I got up extra-early – despite my body screaming at me in protest at being yanked out of bed at such an ungodly hour – and went to the gym. It was so early that, even with the recent time change that gives us an extra hour of daylight in the mornings, it was pitch-dark.

My drive to the gym was uneventful. It usually is. There’s not really a lot that can happen during a two-minute drive. By the time I got there the parking lot was already about half-full. I parked the car, grabbed my bag and got out. When I turned around I was surprised to find myself face-to-face with a large policeman who was standing beside his cruiser.

“Good morning!” he said.

I looked blankly around me for a few seconds before concluding that since no-one else was in the parking lot, the policeman was talking to me.

“Hi!” I said brightly. Remember that “bright” can be a relative term. It was just a smidgeon after five in the morning.

“This your car?” he asked.

Again, I looked around, this time at the other cars in the parking lot. Gesturing stupidly at my old Chevy van, I said, “This one?” as if the policemen could have been referring to any of the other fifteen cars that I had just gotten out of.

“Yes,” said the policeman, without showing any trace of impatience. He probably encounters a lot of dimwits early in the morning.

Cripes, I thought suddenly. Does he think I stole the car?

I assured the policeman of my status as the car’s rightful owner, and the conversation that ensued was very boring. It involved a headlight that was out, a promise (on my part) that it would be taken care of right away, and an assurance (on his part) that he would not write me up for the $110 ticket.

Coincidentally, when I was riding the subway to work about ninety minutes later, the pair of men sitting across from me were talking about the evil entity that is the police force. From what I could glean, one of them had received a speeding ticket over the weekend and was now fighting it. This story led to a rant about how policemen as a breed are awful money-grabbers who are rude to the public and never do anything useful.

As I listened to this, I thought back to my earlier encounter. The policeman had been very nice to me, even though I was displaying the intelligence of a dead tulip. Technically, he would have been within his rights to give me a ticket; instead, he had done me the service of telling me – helpfully and non-confrontationally – that my headlight needed fixing.

This all makes me think back to a day about two years ago when I was at our local coffee shop with James, who was then almost four. My two boys had been playing the back yard, and George had pushed James into a brick wall. James had ended up with a bleeding face and more than a few tears, so I left George with my mother-in-law and took James out for a donut.

We sat next to a window in the coffee shop, James proudly sporting the gauze patch on his cheek. When a police cruiser parked outside, James waved enthusiastically at the policeman, who waved back cheerfully. When the policeman entered the coffee shop, he came right up to our table and started chatting with James. He introduced himself as Larry, told James about his own little boy who was about the same age, and on James’ request, he took James outside to look at the police car. He capped off the exchange by pulling a Thomas the Train sticker out of his pocket and putting it onto the gauze patch.

James thought Christmas had come early that day. He spoke about Larry the policeman for weeks, and a couple of years later, he still remembers him. What I remember of that day is that a police officer took the time to speak to a child. He instilled in my son the idea that the police are there for the community, and that they are trusted sources of help.

There are exceptions, of course. There are the policemen who will  be rude and arrogant, and who will power-trip you right into the middle of next week. But it is important to note that the exceptions are just that – exceptions. It seems a bit harsh to diss the entire police force based on the actions of a few of its members.

I want my children to know that if they are ever in trouble, they can go to the police, and the police will help them.

I am truly grateful for everything the police do. These people, who willingly put themselves in dangerous situations in order to protect their communities, are heroes.

(Photo credit to grainger. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.)