From Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

The Quiet Hero

It was Mother’s Day, the day we celebrate everything mothers are, everything we do. But I’ll admit that Sunday in 1996 was bittersweet for me. As a single mother I tended to dwell on my shortcomings—how many evenings I had to spend pouring over textbooks to earn my college degree; the number of things I couldn’t stretch my waitress’s salary to buy.

But what great kids I had! My daughter Maria was in college working towards a degree in elementary Education; and Denny, my “baby,” was home visiting from his freshman year at Westchester University in Pennsylvania. They were never impolite enough to complain, but there was so much more I wished I could have done for them. I just hoped they understood.

As I padded into the kitchen to start breakfast, I was greeted by a vase containing a dozen red roses! When had Denny possibly sneaked down to leave them? But even their delicate beauty was overshadowed by the note that sat beside them, in the quick, masculine handwriting of an eighteen-year-old. It read:

She took a day off from her busy schedule to take the boy to see his hero in the flesh at the stadium. It took three-and-a-half hours just to get there, and they had to be there early so he could see his hero take batting practice. On their arrival, she took her hard-earned money to buy an overpriced T-shirt portraying his hero making a diving catch. After the game, of course he had to get his hero’s autograph, so she stayed with the little boy until one o’clock in the morning in spite of her alarm clock which would ring early. It took me long enough to realize it, but I finally know who the real hero is.

And suddenly, it was a happy Mother’s Day, after all.

Denny McCormick and Lisa McCormick

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