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8 • Thursday, January 26, 2017 - The Elmhurst Independent

The Elmhurst Independent

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January 26, 2017 • 8

Slices of life

Being a hero

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Things I learned today: Some of the most unexpected actions might make you a hero. Others do not. If you are a parent, this pretty much goes with the territory. For me, it’s been this way since the diaper years. When you change a diaper on time, you are a hero. When you fail to smell the stinky-poo, you are less than heroic. When you fed your newborn baby at midnight, 2:14 am, 4:12 am and 6:05 am – all within the same, blurry night/morning – you were a hero. When you cried while doing so because you were so very tired, you were still a hero, even though you didn’t realize it at the time. A hero listens to her kids when they want to talk. A non-hero lectures her kids when they don’t want to listen. (Guilty here.) When they were little, being a hero often meant doing without so they could have what they needed. Now that they are older, they show me their own heroism when they surprise me with things I don’t really need that they’ve bought because they can and they tell me, “You deserve it, Mom.” (And my heart gushes.) A hero picks her son up from school, leaving a few minutes early in order to drive a circuitous route so she can park on the right side of the road so said son won’t have to walk across traffic to access the vehicle. This is heroic, even though no one but the mom knows it. A non-hero parks in a slightly different place when picking up her son, so he doesn’t know she is there at all and thinks maybe she forgot him (which she never would do on purpose). Proof you are a hero is when your teenage son says, “I love you,” when no one else can hear. (You didn’t hear that from me.) You are still a hero when he fails to yell this to you across a crowded room, or from a distance of 100 feet. A surprisingly significant proportion of heroism begins and ends with laundry. Go figure. Laundry never used to be heroic when they were using pull-ups and training pants, but it becomes

By

JILL PERTLER Contributor

so when your college-aged kids realize they are responsible for their own clean underwear. Sometimes they wash and dry a load but are too busy sleeping or eating or watching football to fold it. When you go to do a load of your own and find their items in the dryer you may decide to take five minutes and fold them. When you do, you are a hero. In a related scenario, heroic behavior is stumbling upon the fact that rubbing alcohol will remove gum from your ninth grade son’s brand-new expensive name-brand shirt. It is helpful to know that rubbing alcohol is not the same as drinking alcohol. This is especially useful to moms, and specifically moms of teenagers. Non-heroic behavior is forcing that same ninth grader to wear a jacket to school when it is 10 degrees below zero. Ditto that for long pants. Bonus hero points given for surprising said son with a pack of his favorite candy when you pick him up from school to make up for the morning’s jacket fiasco and to prepare for tomorrow, when it’s going to be just as cold. Double bonus points awarded for being brave enough to be a parent for another day. And another. And loving it. Most days. Except for the jacket part. And the long pants. And the laundry – if we are being heroically honest here. Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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