Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Happiness is being someone's Hero

I've said it many times and I will probably continue to say it a few more times ... being a single parent is no easy task. Heck, in today's world being a parent period is no easy task, married or single. There are so many things to think about, questions to be asked and answered, problems to solve, and so on. The last thing any parent needs is to be second guessing themselves as a parent. As difficult as things may get, the one thing I really love about being a single mom is the relationship I have with Dylan. I can honestly say that we are friends and talk about almost everything.

Last week I was going through one of those times where nothing I was doing seemed right. At least not in my eyes. All I could see was failure and disappointment as I compared myself with others around me. Better jobs, bigger houses, nicer things.

As usual, I was not able to hide how I was feeling from Dylan. He sees right through my "I'm fine, nothing is wrong" responses. I guess that only worked when he was younger. So I proceeded to tell him small tidbits of what was bothering me and asked him if he was really happy. Was he happy living in a small apartment with hand-me-down furniture? Was he happy with his school? Was there anything he wanted or needed that I wasn't providing him? I was making the biggest parenting mistake of all and questioning my worth as a mother.

It didn't take long before the roles were reversed and I was sitting across from my son (who became the parent) listening to words much wiser than his 11 years.

He began with "Mom, listen to me ..."  
For the next five minutes I sat in awe of my child and just listened.

"Mom, I am proud of you. You work really hard for what we have and I love you. Sure, those other people might have a big house or a successful career, but there is something that none of them will ever have. They don't have you as a mom. You have taught me so much about conservation and philanthropy. You have made a difference. You inspire me to save animals and make the world a better place. (This is where I fought back the tears) I know it cost millions of dollars to build Tiger Trail and we only raised $1300, but still, we made a difference and helped build a new home for the tigers. That is something they don't have. Mom, you are my hero."

I felt the tears rolling down my cheek. All this time I thought he was inspiring me and come to find out that I inspire him. He told me I was his hero, just like Rick and that I should be proud of that. Heck yes, I'm proud of that! My son just put me in the same category as Zookeeper Rick - top that!

So the lesson that I learned from my 11 year old son is that it doesn't matter what my job title is or how much money I make. Living in an apartment doesn't make me any less of a person than someone who owns a home. Money cannot buy happiness and sometimes the little things really are the big things in disguise.

What does matter is that I am someone's hero ...
                     and nobody can take that happiness away from me.

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