Fit vs. Fiction's Blog

Real Heroes don’t wear capes, just ask my son.

Last night, I was tucking my 9 year old son into bed as I always do, when I heard him quietly say, “You’re my hero.”


It’s funny how much his words affected me. Maybe it’s because I can vividly remember saying the very same words to my mother when I was growing up or because I spend much of my time wondering if I’m a “good enough” parent.

I thanked him and told him how happy he makes me and how lucky I am to be his mother. I left his room and he fell asleep quickly. I however, have not been able to stop thinking about those 3 little, yet powerful words since.

What is a hero? On TV or comic books they wear capes and tight leotards over bulging muscles and save the world from destruction. In real life, they are the firemen and police officers who rush into the dangerous situations the rest of us run out of, or the doctors and nurses who save our lives and make us well. How could I be a hero, when I’m so ordinary?

I started to think about what my life was like about 6 years ago when I was in the middle of an exercise obsession and managed through serious body building training, to achieve what I had always thought was the “Ideal physique”. All muscle, very little fat. I had the 6 pack Abs and sculpted biceps I had always wanted. I looked powerful. I looked the way so many magazines were telling me I SHOULD look. I convinced myself that I was being a good role model for my sons by taking care of myself and being healthy; but I was thoroughly misguided.I spent many hours at the gym and as a consequence, ended up with my priorities out of whack. I had long stopped exercising to FEEL good and was only concerned with LOOKING good..even it was to the extreme.I hate to admit it, but I had become quite self-absorbed. A good role model? I don’t think so.

It’s funny,but it was only once I found balance in my life, physically, emotionally and spiritually that I began to reconnect to other people and even to myself.

I’ve always been an active person who’d rather hike than shop, but I no longer feel pressure to live up to anyone else’s unrealistic expectation of what a woman SHOULD look like. I have always enjoyed food and will no longer feel shame over indulging in foods whose only redeeming quality is that they taste Awesome!

Truth be told, the 6 pack abs are gone, the bicep are muscles are still there, but somewhat hidden under what I’ll call, the soft cushioning of my 40 year old body, but today I feel more powerful than ever.

My son has no idea what his words meant to me because he has no idea how much time I have spent judging myself. They also got me thinking about who my heroes are.The people who ispire me don’t wear capes or run into burning buildings, they are the true, everyday heros that leave me in awe on a daily basis. They are people like: my friend who cares for her special needs child as a single parent, my mother in law who survived cancer and the loss of a child without losing her capacity for joy, or my own mother who faced a terrible divorce, survived the death of my brother and then battled Breast cancer 4 times only to lose the war at 56 yrs old.; who had every right to be bitter, yet lived her life embracing love, hope and laughter, and even my husband, who sat by my hospital for 2 months while I was fighting for my life 10 years ago and wouldn’t give up on me, even when the doctors told him to prepare for the worst.

I decided to try and see myself through my son’s eyes and realized that everytime I tell him I love him, read him stories, dance,play, and sing with him; everytime I’m there when he scratches he knee or has his feelings hurt,when I listen, REALLY listen when he’s telling me about his day;I make him feel safe and loved. Isn’t that what heroes do?

I still judge myself more than I should, but I’ve learned that it’s possible to be a good mom while also being somewhat flawed and imperfect. My son wouldn’t have it any other way…that is until a few years from now when he enters his teen years and just thinks I’m annoying. :o)


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