Earlier this week, my oldest daughter celebrated her birthday, as she waded further into her teenage years. Part of our family celebration included watching home movies of her and our younger daughter celebrating their respective birthdays over the years. Watching those movies was a wonderful reminder of how much my daughters have changed in some ways and how much they have remained the same in other ways.
There was one scene from my oldest daughter’s second birthday party that reminded me of something I had forgotten. As some of our family and friends sang “Happy Birthday” to her, the grin on her face quickly morphed into a look of fear, as she held back tears. As I watched this moment unfold on the television screen, it all came back to me how much she did not like being the center of attention. Things like the singing of “Happy Birthday”, clapping for her, and cheering for her would cause her to become tearful, as she wanted to be part of an event, not the focus of it. Over the years, her tears stopped during such moments, but she continued to leave the spotlight to others. Until today.
This morning, at her high school’s Honors Day, she was presented with an award that seemed tailor-made for her, the Unsung Hero Award. She always has been a personal hero of mine for so many reasons, and to have others see her in the same light, even though she eschews the spotlight, left me, not her, in tears. In a world littered with selfies, she is simply herself. Always and unfailingly herself.
She has a quiet self-confidence, strong work ethic, and authenticity that belie her youth, and she is sweet and selfless in all that she does. She is more concerned with making a positive difference in the world than she is in the modern measures of success, such as likes, retweets, shares, friends, and followers. She flies under the radar, yet she shines brightly in her own way. When she talked with me about the honor she received, my daughter reminded me that even unsung heroes need to be serenaded from time to time. Her whole face lit up when she said, “Mom, I thought I was going to receive an award for being on the Honor Roll, but instead, I got an award that was specific to me. It was just for me.”
In that moment, I thought of how important it is to recognize those people in our lives who are so easy to overlook and take for granted, because they do not call attention to themselves or ask for anything for themselves, especially recognition. Everyone needs to be seen and heard, and my heart nearly burst with joy to know that my daughter’s quiet perseverance, goodness, and kindness were recognized by others. The squeaky wheel may get the oil, but today, my unsung hero got the award!
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story