My mom and I never got along when I was a kid. What I mean is: I think she hated me and I know I resented her. I’m ashamed to say that I was too dim-witted to realize that what I thought was inferiority or weakness was really the most courageous strength ever!

My dad’s brilliant. He’s smart. He’s strong. He’s funny. He’s a great singer. He’ll be the first to tell you so. Not boasting. Just knowing. My mom quietly let him take center stage all of my childhood. I hope she knows how great, talented and kind she is. I hated when someone in my family compared to my mom. I wish I understood then what a compliment it was!

My dad loves me. He visited me in the hospital. He stayed with me, reading his paper, while I slept. What a comfort! He drove me to my appointments in the city. He fought with the doctors. He challenged. He spoke up. My husband is a lot like that, too. They both rescue me.

My mom made me pizza as we sat together on her couch watching daytime tv. She drove me to my out-patient rehab appointments. Every day. For a year.

She is my living will executor. Even now. My husband, my father are rescuers. They would do anything for me. I would do anything for them. My mother can separate love and duty. She’s unbelievable. I wish I didn’t waste my childhood impression of her by not truly realizing the quiet hero she is.

My dad scared me to death, one day. My sister and I were returning from our first concert. My dad drove. My mom sat in the passenger seat.

My dad was in severe back pain. He’d been suffering for a few days. It was late and dark. A kid, on the side of the road, threw stones at the car. No doubt, he was amped from the great show and victim to the poor judgement of a teenage boy surrounded by friends. My dad was furious. Enraged!

He sped after the boy! Thankfully, either he couldn’t catch him and/or re-thought. I don’t remember my mom’s reaction. I don’t remember anything about her, then, except that she was there.

It occurs to me, now, what courage it must have been for her. I’m sure she knew he was in pain. I’m sure she considered driving herself. I’m sure she knew how important it is for my dad to “be at the wheel”.

It takes quiet strength to let someone else shine. It takes quiet strength to know EXACTLY what needs to be done, by whom and when. That’s why I choose her every time. That’s why SHE is my hero.

This lesson is one of the reasons even the hell of brain injury is something I’m (on a good day) thankful for. It has taught me so much. I’m still learning.

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