Tuesday, March 13, 2012

An everyday hero

Jack has a box of superhero costumes that we've stashed under his train table. He'll mash-up costumes - a Superman cape paired with a Green Lantern mask and Spiderman arm shields and take on the monsters lurking in our closets.

Lately, I'm been reading a lot about real-world heroism.

I'm continually amazed about the story about the woman from Indiana who saved her children's lives while losing her own legs; I think of the parents who lost their children to the terrible shootings in Chardon, Ohio, 20 minutes from my hometown, and how they must find the strength to carry on; and I just found this blog and I can't stop reading this woman's story of losing her son.

I have no doubt that I would do anything to protect my children in this world. But please let me never be put to the test. So, that said, how can be we everyday heroes?

Sometimes I feel like I fall hopelessly short. Last night, Jack took his cup of milk and turned it upside down when he didn't like the dinner he was served. As he was sent to his room for a timeout, he took a picture his preschool teachers had left for me in his cubbie at school and crumpled it up and then went to his room, knocking everything off of his bed and dresser.

I had it.

I could almost see the words blowing out of my mouth. "I am. So. UPSET," I said right into his little face.

His tears ensued as he sat on his bed.

I took Jossie for a bath, and Jack straightened his act out. With Jeremy, he cleaned up his room and ate the dinner that sat waiting for him. He then came to me and put his bony arms around my neck, as I was sitting on the bathroom floor, drying off Jossie.

I couldn't help it but I started to cry - mostly out of exhaustion and frustration and then a little beating myself up for being weak in front of my kids - who wants to see their mom cry? I looked at Jack and his eyes were wet and he held me tight, and I told him, I can get upset but I would always love him.

Trust me, my son can use tears when he doesn't get his way or a toy he wants - but to see true sadness for feeling bad was noteworthy. I wasn't sure if I should be grateful for his empathy or truly ashamed that I elicited this reaction from him.

So anyways, I'm not perfect.

But, as I'm wont to do, here are my thoughts on what I've learned so far in my wee four years of parenting to be my own everyday hero. And yes, they're touchy-feely: Give your kids structure and set limits. Remind them often they are loved. Do things that you love so they can see you as your own person. Embrace different because it can be awesome. Think about your community and the role you play. Be present in the moment. Be aware. Be intentional. See things through. And cut yourself breaks. And drink wine.

What would you add? If you're reading this post, I ask you to leave a comment. Please. I'll even give you a new Pandora station to try: look up singer/songwriter Jillian Edwards. You'll love her.

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