I'm not the type of person to fawn over others, to choose one person to idolize or want to be like. I'm not like that. I'm a different sort of person. I'm a geek, I love video games, all things sci-fi and fantasy, literature, so I never felt like I had someone that I connected to on that level, someone I looked up to who reminded me of myself. I think that is what we look for in inspiration. That one thread of connection that tells me that I'm not alone in this world, that there are others like me, that I'm not as strange as I would like to believe.
So after becoming a mother I found out who inspires me. First and foremost my son inspires me. Seth inspires me everyday to be a better person, to learn, to grow - all of the things I thought I would be teaching him he has been teaching me. My dad has told me many times in life that our children are our greatest teachers and I just brushed it off as one of those things that your father says. I was wrong. Oh boy was I ever wrong. Seth has taught me to be stronger, to believe in myself, to stand up for what is right. No I'm not getting self righteous here and I'm not becoming that crazy Down Syndrome advocate (because frankly I don't have the time, energy nor mindset for that) but I am realizing that Seth has made me fight for him in ways that I never fought for myself. Becoming a mom I am more confident in who I am as a person and what I want out of life. I believe in the decisions I make for our family and for Seth. That's a priceless thing.
Another person I admire greatly is Rachel Coleman. Now here is a person that I can look up to, someone who doesn't profess to be perfect, in fact I'm pretty sure she consistently lets us know that she isn't. That's why I love her, that's why she's an amazing woman. There are no pretty pictures painted (or taken) of her life, she is candid, she is real. We met her at the NYC Buddy Walk last year. And you know what? I found out that Seth had someone that inspired him, someone that wasn't me. When Seth looked upon her his eyes widened with awe and he just smiled. His smile radiated and beamed and it was one of the most precious things I have ever seen. And what did Rachel Coleman do back? She hugged him, she signed "I love you" to him. She signed with him and talked to him and was just a wonderful person. So I doubt Rachel Coleman will ever ever read my blog, my lonely little space in this big world of the Internet. But Rachel gave me a way to communicate with my son, she gave him a proverbial voice when he didn't have one. Rachel used all of her skills to help people in this world and that is an inspiration to me all the time.
Last, but definitely not least, is my dad. My dad is not a perfect man, he has many, many flaws, but his heart is good. His heart means well. He always wants the best for us kids, all six of us. See people in life who improve themselves without help or support, my just sheer will . . . those type of people amaze me. My dad is one such person.
Born in Brooklyn to a very, very poor Irish mom and alcoholic dad, my dad trudged through to become the person he is today. He made my life possible through his struggles. My father didn't learn to read until he was sixteen and even then it was on a very elementary level. What I didn't know was that when I came home with spelling or vocabulary words that my dad went to our teachers and learned them so he could come home and teach us. That he swallowed his pride to do that for us means everything. My parents had six kids by the time they were 23 and 24. Very young parents with a lot on their hands. And my dad made it possible for my generation to be the first kids in our family ever to go to college and ever to graduate. Amazing. He broke so many cycles, changed the world with pure force of will.
If I told you that he had one arm, lost his left arm at 16 years old and he's a carpenter does that amaze you as well? The fact that he was/is left-handed as well? He pushed through so much and has been dealt a very difficult hand. If he lived through all of that then surely, surely I must be strong enough to deal with everything I have to in my life. Most definitely he gave me a part of his strength.
Many people, many, many people are probably wondering why my mom isn't on this list. She is inspirational and I do love her, but our relationship is complicated to the say the most and least at the very same time.
I am inspired on smaller levels everyday by the people I surround myself with. Drew, my friends, there is something in each one of the people that I choose to spend my time with that make me say "wow you are awesome, I wish I could be like that." So I do hope that I take little pieces, little pieces of everyone that I admire, everyone that made me smile and incorporate it into myself. I want to be a puzzle made up of the best people I know.