Today wasn’t a good day for me. I was depressed and feeling sorry for myself, altogether caught up in the drudgery that unrelentingly fights to extinguish my spirit whenever I feel tired and worn. As I sat down tonight to watch the Oscars, each of my three children joined me on the couch. I was surprised, especially because I was ornery all day, and not very pleasant to be around. The Oscars are not something they have ever expressed any interest in watching. They do love going to the movies, but most of the films being honored were not ones they have seen. Yet they still curled up with me, getting as close as possible.
When Jared Leto’s name was announced as winner in the category of Best Supporting Actor, my son lamented that his own favorite contender was not chosen. I recently saw “Dallas Buyers Club,” but knew absolutely nothing of this actor, and was interested in hearing more about who he is. As I listened with the rest of the world, I was humbled by the respect he paid his mother, a teenage single mom, who raised two sons on her own. Her circumstances, from Leto’s limited description, were clearly worse than my own. Young and uneducated, she still managed to persevere and overcome hardship while successfully instilling creativity and drive in her children.
Tonight she sat, enjoying the fruits of her labor, as her younger son received recognition for his own hard work. In return, that child recognized his mother for her love and support of him through what, I can only imagine, were the most difficult of circumstances. But, as any mother knows, being a parent, especially a single parent, is a thankless job. We assume our role wholeheartedly because, in reality, it’s not a job, it is our life’s blood.
Whether Jared Leto’s mother watched her child win the fourth grade spelling bee or accept an Oscar as he did this evening, my guess is that her feeling of pride would have been one and the same. And, never, ever, as parents do we expect a thank you. To do so would be taboo, a tempting of the gods to bring us exactly the opposite of what we hope and wish for our offspring.
As I raise my own young children, I strive to teach them the value of working to their potential. And with each hard-earned accolade my children receive, I sit, in silence, accepting it as my own. That is my thanks. My joy. My pride in their accomplishments meets no bounds, especially as they are forced to deal with circumstances in their own childhood from which I was unable to shield them.
Yes, Jared Leto’s mother is a single mom. But, first off, she is a mom. My mommy hat goes off to a great lady who clearly did things right. As I find myself in the throes of single parenthood, I am able to glean inspiration from someone else’s success. Tonight, when I close my eyes, I will be thankful for the Grace that I have been bestowed thus far, and tomorrow I will strive to do even better.