My parents are heroes.
I often think back on the past and random memories flood my head from when I was young and I am reminded of sweet nostalgia. One memory that came to mind was of my dad coming to my classroom in the 3rd grade. We were learning about Yellowstone National Park and wildfires. I proudly told my teacher that my dad was a fireman and she invited him into my class as a guest speaker. He came in with his gear and let us try on his boots and helmet. He went over fire safety and I remember being so proud -- as I still am. Everyone in the class loved it and talked about it long after.
Whenever we had a fire drill, Dad was always there and I was always excited to see him. My classmates all knew Dad was a fireman.
One time, I got to see Dad in action. We were driving home, probably from softball practice, and there was a three-way car accident in the parking lot of Donovan's Liquors, off of the intersection. Without hesitation Dad drove over, jumped out of the car, and assessed the scene. He always had his radio with him; we came to learn the different tones and what each meant. He called in the accident and immediately went to help the girl in the middle car who was most injured. The ambulance, fire trucks, and police all came in minutes. I can still see the ambulance pulling up through the back windshield. The girl was taken off in a stretcher and had a neck brace on. I was too young to understand it all, but was so inspired and proud of my dad for jumping into action. It was not surprising because I knew Dad was a lifesaver, but that was the first time I saw with my own eyes the heroism he displayed daily.
Another time, we were driving down the highway and passed a car accident. The drivers were both standing outside of their cars and appeared unharmed, but Dad called 911 anyways. He said that he always calls because you never know if the people in the accident were able to or whatever reason. As I got older, he would tell me to call 911 and tell me what to convey to the operator. As an adult, I now always call in when I pass an accident. One time I was on the highway and passed an accident at the bottom of a steady incline. I called in and the operator asked me if I was sure it was exit 22 because they got a call for exit 23. I told them I just drove by and it was definitely exit 22. It felt good to know that I helped. Those people could not see how close they were to the next exit and I was able to give a more accurate location. Not that it was lifesaving, but the habit of helping others in small ways will add up and prepare me for helping others when the situation is more dire.
A few summers ago there was a motorcycle accident outside of my house. A group of 20 or 30 bikers was riding past my house. We heard a crash, I looked out the window and a man was flying through the air. Immediately, Dad ran outside while yelling, "Kelly, call 911." All those previous experiences already had me reaching for my phone before the words were out of his mouth. Again, I got to see my dad in action, selflessly and unhesitantly rushing to the aid of another. The biker was okay but had to be taken away by ambulance.
Those are just a few, undetailed accounts of my dad's heroism. There have been thousands more that I have never witnessed or been told. And that is the most remarkable part. My dad has saved more lives and helped more people than I can count, but does not gloat or ask for thanks. He just does his duty. Those type of people are the real heroes: the ones who act in silence. My mom is another hero.
When I was in kindergarten, Mom came into my class with stethoscopes to teach us how to listen to our heartbeats and breath. The class had so much fun. I am always so proud to tell people my mom is a nurse. She saves lives every day, again without expectation of thanks or compensation. There are stories she will never tell me, where she saved a life, treated a disease, or gave hope to the despairing because she acts out of duty and compassion. Mom is a real hero.
When we are sick she is tirelessly at our side. She puts everyone before her; almost to a fault. She is a baby whisperer. She has the warmest heart. She is the Best Mom Ever. When my grandparents were sick she was always there for them: taking care of them, making them meals, driving them to the doctors, making sure they got the best treatment, and all the selfless acts that come with taking care of a parent. Again, all without a word and entirely with love.
When we go visit her at the hospital, she is always hard to find because she is at the side of a patient in need. The other nurses have nothing but praise for Mom, and why wouldn't they? Everyone is fighting to pay her a compliment and tell us what a great nurse she is, how amazing she is to work with, and how lucky we are that she is our mom. Of course we already know how amazing she is. One time we were visiting and a patient came up to talk with the other nurses and Mom caught that one of the wires were disconnected. "Always working", one of the nurses said. "She never misses anything", another said.
One year, Mom had to work on a holiday and I was not happy about it. She told me that she has to go to work because there are sick patients who need her. It would not be fair for her to stay home when there are people she can help.
There have been more times that Mom has gone out of her way to help someone. I have learned from my mother what true unconditional love is. I learned how to be selfless and giving from the moment I could form memories, through the actions of my mom. She always welcomes people to our home, makes them dinners when in need, offers her help in any way she can, and always keeps her promises. She does this effortlessly.
I do not get to see Mom in action often, but when I do it is something of watching a miracle worker.
It did not dawn on me until recently, hence this article, how no one else's parents came into my classes. I realized that other people do not talk about their parents and all the good they do the way my siblings and I do. I had an epiphany of a million more reasons why I have the best parents in the world and asked myself why I did not boast of their greatness sooner. There are too many stories to tell, but anyone who knows them knows what true love, selflessness, and courage are. My parents are heroes.