I saw a hero in action this morning. While on my run to drop my teens at 0 period (that unearthly hour before buses run and thus the period to which many parents must drive their students), a car pulled to the curb by the high school's flagpole. From the driver's seat a high schooler emerged, and a father exited the passenger side. The first waved goodbye and headed onto campus. The latter waved, walked quietly around the car, got into the driver's seat, and drove away. No fanfare. No "hey-look-at-you-rockin'-fatherhood" cheers from the sidewalk. Just a quiet departure like many other mornings. But it touched my heart because that father and a whole unnamed multitude of parents do these and uncounted thousands of heroic acts every day.
They seek to empower their kids, to help them rise beyond what their parents have achieved.
Parents really are extra-ordinary heroes. Whether they're still in the young stages--nighttime feedings, toddler meltdowns, food battles, everyday routines; in the middle years of elementary challenges,science projects and soccer seasons; to the last few years where parenting burgeoning adults is a delicate mixture of holding on and letting go--the sheer amount of love and nurture and flat-out endurance that millions of parents around the word exhibit is nothing short of amazing.
CEOs get award banquets. Sports heroes rake in money and kudos. But here in the trenches of parenthood, acknowledgments are delayed--often only in retrospect do those same kids look at us and see actual people--people who love and dream and sacrifice on their behalf. But that's okay because we're extra-ordinary heroes. Our reward is not so much that they would look us in the eyes and say, "You're an amazing parent," (though that is definitely music to our ears), but that they become who they were meant to be, climb the mountains that are theirs, and plant their flags at the summits. That is our reward. That is our mission. That is our joy.