So a couple weeks ago, Joey, my 6 and half year old son, climbed into bed with me in the middle of the night (we’re working on it). I was somewhat startled awake by a soft little caress on my cheek – I opened my eyes and his face was right there. Smiling at me in the dark. I smiled back (what else can you do?) and he said, “Mama, have I told you that you’re my greatest inspiration?” So I did whatever any mom would do in that lovely moment and said, “Can I inspire you to go back to sleep?”
The next morning I was in a better frame of mind to really think about the whole thing – I cried a little at the beauty and laughed at it, too. I was also impressed that he knew a word like “inspiration” (a work colleague suggested that maybe he had been listening to Peter Cetera and Chicago on the down low…). And finally, I was terrified. Me? Somebody’s “inspiration”? Come on.
People who inspire other people are GREAT people, people like Martin Luther King, Jr. (happy birthday, by the way), Ghandi and Susan B. Anthony. Inspirational people are those that change the world and have grand thoughts; guts AND glory. Not me. But then I looked up the definition; according to Merriam-Webster online it means:
something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone; a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something; : a good idea
These definitions put inspiration into a totally different light for me – I started thinking about how Pink’s music can inspire to me to go to the gym more, how my friend – who is a mother of twins, works part-time out of the home, fights for reasonable gun control measures in her spare time, bakes and is still laid-back and funny – inspires me to be more engaged, how my husband’s small gestures of love and respect inspire me to reinvest in our relationship on a daily basis, and how an appreciative word from a member or colleague about a program or project inspires me to want to do even better.
I am Joey’s primary caretaker – I get him ready in the morning, walk him to school, pick him up, hang out with him afterwards, take him to music and hockey practice, etc. We spend a lot of time together – it’s not always fun – it can be stressful, exhausting and we are both cranky sometimes. But when I think about his ability to read chapter books on his own, use words like “inspiration”, try new activities like taekwondo and the School of Rock all on his own, tie his shoes and say something kind to his friends or the lady at the grocery store, I can kind of see how I’ve inspired him…and remember how he inspires me every day to be more than I think I am and maybe even inspire someone else. You can be inspirational, too…how cool is that?