I like to write heroic characters but during a conversation with a colleague it occurred to me that my definition of heroic isn’t necessarily everyone else’s definition of heroic. In an effort to make myself understand I’ve been thinking about my own heroes and I thought I’d share them with you all. Tomorrow is International Women’s Day so I thought I’d start with one of the women. One could make a case for this one being the most important of them all: my mother.
My mother was born into a family of very religious farmers a little over 60 years ago. She was a bright student who was encouraged in her studies and went on to study Russian. She went to Moscow to work where she met my father who swept her off her feet by performing the Nutcracker Ballet while walking her home from the party where they met. Yes, my winning personality is the condensation of generations of eccentrics finding each other charming.
She had two daughters, co-founded a computer parts company that went bankrupt during the depression, leaving her divorced, unemployed and saddled with a mountain of debt and with two pre-teen daughters to feed, clothe and raise.
In many ways my mother is utterly average. But the ways in which she is not are beyond inspirational. She has been knocked down time and time again throughout her life but she still keeps on getting up every time she gets knocked down. It’s like she can’t not keep going when many others, myself included, would just curl up into a ball to wait for death.
She would never say this, but she’s an amazing strategic thinker which has resulted in, among other things, both me and my sister being comfortable with computers far before they were a commonplace occurrence in homes. This despite us being two steps away from being homeless at the time. I don’t know how she does it but whenever she sets her mind to something that will get taken care of. There’s not even an “or else…” in there, it just always gets taken care of. Maybe not today, maybe not even tomorrow but she will and has moved mountains to do what she considers to be the right thing.
She has a quick temper but she is also quick to laugh even when she’s angry. She is unthinkingly generous toward everyone and anyone at all times, even the people she doesn’t like. I’ve never met anyone more willing to admit they’re wrong when she gets presented with good evidence.
I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for her. She worked herself raw just to make sure me and my sister would have the best possible start to life despite her resources or lack thereof. All in all, my mother is an amazing, heroic individual and everyone who knows her should consider themselves lucky.