Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Everyday Mom Heroes

I’m not a big fan of hero worship or lionizing individual people (especially celebrities). People are complicated, and most of the time, it’s folly to reduce human beings to heroes and villains. I tend to idolize ideas, values, and principles more than I do the people who embody them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t stand in awe of people in my everyday life.

I do.

I’ve been thinking for a long time about my everyday mom heroes, and if or how to write about them in a way they would be comfortable with. There are several women in my life, who, for various reasons, are my personal heroes. They do more with less time and money in a single day than I could accomplish in two weeks with twice as much of both. They’re raising multiple children on their own, have faced unthinkable adversity, and are resilient and resourceful.

Recently, one of them posted something sad on Facebook about her daughter missing out on a father-daughter class:

Being a single mom doesn’t bother us about being a broken family until one of [her daughter’s] friends makes the statement about I wish your dad was around so you could go to the father daughter class with us we have so much fun! I don’t know if that sliced into [her] as much as it has been bothering me!
It was an innocent comment, of course, but I knew our kids happened to be together at the time. After confirming Paige had not been the one to make the inadvertently hurtful statement, I told her something I’d long been thinking anyway, which is that she is one of my biggest mom heroes, and I asked if I could write about why.

To my surprise, she enthusiastically endorsed the idea, so now I will briefly explain why Victoria is one of my mom heroes, without going completely bonkers over-the-top about it.

Basically Victoria is at least ten years younger than me, although two of our kids are the same ages/genders. She lives alone with her three biological kids, ages 2 through 9, and her nephew, a high school junior whom she is parenting as a foster mom. Her kids’ dads live far away and are not involved in their lives financially or otherwise. She drives a school bus and recently got a scholarship to finish college. Her mom is in assisted living, and her dad lives far away as well, although fortunately she has an older sister here in Juneau.

As far as I can tell, Victoria never stops moving and she never quits working for her family. I see her EVERYWHERE, all the time. She has all her kids in dance, skating, karate, church, scouts, hockey, plays, etc. and spends every free moment, it seems, taking them to and from school and from one activity to the next. It’s almost like she has the ability to matter-transport herself to three different places at once. On top of that, all of her kids are great to be around--they make all our lives easier when they’re playing with my kids at our house or spending time with our family.

I once asked Victoria how she keeps her shit together, and her answer stuck with me. She said she doesn’t have patience for or understand people who don’t keep their shit together.

I know Victoria is not alone, in that there are many other incredibly strong and resilient moms (and dads) out there who have their shit together on this level. I know several of them personally, although I'm not one of them. 

They go about their business just doing what they do, but their everyday heroism in parenting and decidedly NOT "broken" families does not go unnoticed, at least not by this mere mortal.

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