a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
“a war hero”
synonyms: brave person, brave man/woman, man/woman of courage, man/woman of the hour, lionheart, warrior, knight…
another term for submarine sandwich.” @dictionary.com

Anyway, I think about how often I can say I have know one. Honestly, I feel I can say it often enough to call myself #blessed. I have a friend who does not see herself in the cool way my family sees her. I think we both know we are cool moms (I am nerdier, but still cool). We are similar in our self-deprecating ways, but we know if our kids needed anything, we could count on the other to show up and help out. Also, if we need to make an emergency Jimmy Johns trip… (maybe the American reason to call a hero a sub sandwich?)…I will think upon that later…

This friend knows if something is wrong – I get quiet, in fact, she normally has to fight to get a word in *if we’re honest… I still give her credit for deciphering my particular brand of communication. I am referring to the unpredictable nature of my personality from week to week (depending on the success or failure of a current effort) at #adulting. When I am losing my faith in humanity, or stress and pain is blinding me, and it feels it will not end. She might say… Breathe, where are you standing? This is the way you were going right, where is your notebook/calendar? Ok, get back up and start walking forward then falls in step next to me until my head gets back on track. Often I get going like she pulled a zip-string, and I run so far ahead, I forget where I started. I may not get a ton of distance in that one stop and start… but I’ll be damned if I didn’t just make it a few steps forward because I did not stand still. I am grateful for people like this.

We are low on funds, so take scenic drives through Maryland. I call it our special brand of “friend mobile therapy” because I have to ‘verbalize-to-problem-solve’, and she needs to drive to think and problem-solve (she gets to talk too)… No particular destination… just to stop and take photos of a sunset, or watch rain, photograph flowers, houses, or pretty animals, or interesting… Sometimes, just the ability to stop and appreciate beauty with others makes it much cooler. I had Air Force buddies back in the 90s, while stationed at Dover AFB in Delaware. We used to do the same things, adding mountain bikes on our car/truck racks, packing lunches, or taking out the canoe for days.

Something spiritual happens to me when I am outside, stopping at a river bank, walking on the trails, skipping rocks on the water, or just sitting, being still, and LISTENING to the world around us. I am reminded of how important NOW is, knowledge that all my children are (alive & well) enjoying the same experiences beside me. I understand what I work so hard for,(more of this). So my soul settles a little… Later that day I may thread more words through the tangled web of life (she called my life a big ball of threads once, We are going to untangle this shit – one thread at a time, I promise it is will keep getting better, I just KNOW it). I probably made some snarky ‘whatevs’ comment, but I do believe it. This friend is a hero because the threads she helps me untangle are made of these materials: hyper-anxiety-emotion-riddled-frazzled-but-strangely-focused-intense-but-funny-haha-mostly-but-adventurous-but-tragic-garbage, and a lot of it needs to be tossed out. That is the part that seems the hardest for me, time spent taking out the trash. Making room for the good that will come our way when the trash is out.

I came across a handful of heroes at the Baltimore Veterans Administration, and they work in various capacities. I have rock-star-hero social workers on my team, and the words I have been trying to communicate and ‘be understood’ are landing on ears that hear, with tools to help me get to a place where I am able to do important things for my family. I just need the possible and sustainable in this life. I must not lose hope or faith in my abilities to accomplish the goals set.

I have been inspired by one of my new VA buddies. My case landed on his desk by a stroke of luck. Not sure if HE feels lucky, but I feel #blessed – he also seemed to comprehend my special brand of communication style. Somehow, in the tangled state of my file, I had things they could work with. This rockstar keeps handing me tangible information I could use (not just brochures). It is a painstakingly-slow-slow-slow process when dealing with the mountains of paperwork required to do anything in the field of human services or government agencies in general.

Veterans are fully capable of being hard on themselves over their stuff #adulting. In fact, for me, it is a very humbling, and pride-sucking process when you have to go and ask other veterans to help you when you have reached the end of your rope and are hanging on by the knot you tied. Most veterans I meet are surviving, hard-working, self-motivated people that want a way to live and enjoy a little slice of the American Pie they fought for. Preferably before they die.

I call human services workers heroes if they can do their jobs with enthusiasm, personality, and a great sense of humor. 9 times out of 10, a veteran does not want a hand-out, but a hand-up, and reminded they are not alone. Give them a compass, point them in the right direction because they fell off the marked trail again. (oh, and some food, and financial help during emergencies). Anyway, I have met some AMAZING people in Maryland so far, and I hope some day I will be able to pay the human kindness forward.