Double mascara alert: after I dropped off AG at school this morning (no power, major storm just roared through), I tuned into Q100 and heard their latest "Burt's Big Adventure." They took a bunch of families whose children are enduring terminal and chronic illnesses to Disney World. Wonderful! The song "Baby of Mine" from Beaches was interspersed with snippets of reactions from the families and children. That definitely had me tearing up.
Then came the caller.
Bless his heart, he's a soldier who's defending our country. And he knows families in similar situations. Then he said the one thing that just frustrates me over and over again. He said the "real heroes" in the Disney trip weren't the show's producers and talent. "The real heroes are those kids, because they're really having to go through a lot."
As a mother of a child with a chronic illness that nearly took him from us twice, please please please don't call these kids "inspirational" or "heroic."
A hero is someone who chooses to do something amazingly brave and giving with full awareness of the risks and danger.
A child would NEVER choose to go through cancer or Crohn's Disease or diabetes or a genetic condition so severe that their entire life is a challenge. There's nothing inspirational about what a child suffers. Yes, they have the gift of innocence, of not knowing the full story shared by the adults around them.
Love a child like that. Nurture that child and give that child all the joy you can so there's a "happy place" in memories to go to when the treatment hurts or the pain of the illness is so overwhelming.
Just don't tell that child or his family that he's a hero.