My hero – with or without the cape

Lately, some people refer to my mother as the Bionic Woman, but the truth is she became a superhero long before getting a titanium hip last year, even before she stared down breast cancer almost six years ago.
My mother first earned her cape when the three of us put her through the paces of motherhood. As if she were not busy enough raising her children, being a wife and running a household, we had no problem nominating her for bake sales, carpools and countless other events.
Many years have passed since Vacation Bible School, fundraisers and the seemingly endless opportunities we presented her with on a daily basis. With her children grown now, her contributions have evolved from a ride to band practice and help with algebra to other things.
Today, with a phone call, my mother keeps my sister company as she travels long distances for work. She does the same for one of her high
school classmates who is now a long-haul driver. She checks on several relatives who often have long uninterrupted days except for a few calls; she looks in on the mother of a classmate who passed away recently; and she offers comfort to a friend who is preparing for surgery.
In person, she delivers vegetables from her garden to members of the community who are physically unable to grow their own. She stands for hours to cook for a sister who is recovering from surgery, and she visits those who are unable to go out themselves.
She wonders out loud to me on occasion why God called for my father and left her without her husband of 43 years. I do not have an answer for this question anymore than she had answers to the countless theoretical questions I posed as a child. It is obvious to me that there are things God would like her to do here, and I believe she is doing them.
When I think of the lives she touches in a single week through the simplest forms of contact, one could argue the superhero cape is covering a set of wings.
What I have realized over the years is that my mother possesses a quiet strength. She is neither fancy nor dull, neither boisterous nor overlooked. She lies somewhere in between – in that space that may go unnoticed at the time of action, but in one where the void is certainly noticeable when her presence is not felt.
One of her greatest attributes is the unwavering comfort of knowing that she is simply there. Looking back, I realize that it is the same warmth I felt from her mother.
The last conversation I had with my grandmother included her mistakenly calling me by my mother’s name. It stands to this day as the highest compliment I have ever received. I reminded her of her daughter – why, I will never know. I cannot cook, sew or garden to the ability of my mother, but I trust I can be identified as my mother’s daughter for other characteristics – hopefully because at least a few of those wonderful traits my mother possesses have been passed to me in some small portion.
My mother has taught me there is a little bit of hero in all of us. Without realizing it she puts on her cape every day and does her part to save the world.
Shouldn’t we all?

 

Angela Hogue/Special to the Daily Journal