(Hey readers, my mom is covering my butt this week with a guest post during the start of our bathroom renovation project. This is the lady who used to threaten to ground me for making comma splices. You can see it’s stood me in good stead all these years later. Enjoy! –Anne)
After a particularly exhausting week at work, I knew as I turned off my computer and rolled the phones, I was not ready to battle ﬁve o’clock trafﬁc on the way home and then be loving to my family. I called my son and said I needed a few minutes to “decompress,” that I would see them in about an hour. I decided to head to a nearby book store to wander between the tables and shelves ﬁlled with books, listen to gentle music playing overhead, and curl up in an oversized chair with a tome or two that had caught my eye.
Gradually I could feel myself begin to relax and knew I was ready to return home. I could once again smile as my dog yipped in glee as I unlocked the front door, as the cats curled around my legs and begged for treats, and as my son peered around the bedroom door with a lopsided smile on his face and his headphones propped up off his right ear. I noticed and could appreciate the simple acts of love my family was showing me. Life was certainly appearing much more agreeable than it had an hour before.
Later that night I turned on the TV and scrolled my way through the numerous options for perusal: action and adventure, romance, comedy, crime and violence. It became apparent how many of these choices had as their common theme the hope/need for a “hero” — someone idolized for great courage, noble deeds, magical qualities, or outstanding achievements. Super heroes like Iron Man, Super Woman, and the like quickly came to mind. Sure, we all enjoy dreaming of and watching the fantastical, gallant warrior, larger than life ﬁgures when our daily lives seem oppressive, dull, frazzled, and we feel overworked or restless. At the same time, however, it also dawned on me all the unappreciated heroes we have within our daily lives and the hero-like qualities we all possess but frequently do not take time to acknowledge: those people who bravely show up and are “present” every day to parent/educate our children; who diligently protect our lives/our environment; who love us enough to put up with our mood swings, our illnesses, our passions; and who offer hope and forgiveness where necessary.
I have to admit that I did watch the 2014 remake of “Hercules” on TV Friday night (who does not like the combination of a superhero, action, and humor rolled into one movie); I laughed and played with my pets (something I had not done for most of the week); and I was able to have a meaningful conversation (longer than 5 minutes and not chore related) with my son over dinner Saturday night. I even had a jolly good time trying on practical and not so practical shoes in the local DSW store (my silliness caught the amused attention of more than a few customers).
Were these acts of a hero??? Perhaps not like those performed by Iron Man or Super Woman, but I think we all have the ability to honor the “hero” within ourselves. Can we acknowledge our fatigue or unhappiness yet ﬁnd safe outlets in which to recharge? Are we present in our duties as a parent, as partners, to ourselves? Can we shake off the negativity or stress of the prior week and prepare for yet another work week? Can we forgive each other words said in frustration or anger? Can we allow ourselves to hope and grow?
I would like to think so.