When I wrote my tribute to Terry Fox in A Canadian Hero the other day, I wrote that I had two heroes. Because it is best to limit the length of a blog, I was forced to restrict myself to writing about only one hero in that piece.
Irony of ironies, Lady Bug commented on that blog: "Dad, I will have you know that it is exam time, and blogs such as this do not help appease the emotional wear and tear one goes through during these times. No, indeed not. I hereby request and funny, lighthearted blog to help those students who are currently on the brink of .... losing it. Please! I urge you to take pity!"
As you can tell from the context, Lady Bug is my daughter who is presently studying for her university exams. She has previously been identified in these blogs as daughter #2, D2, and Deetoo, but she desired a more proper identifier and has decided on Lady Bug. So, as far as my blog is concerned, my older daughter is Butterfly, and my younger one is Lady Bug.
Lady Bug's comment is so ironical because, however much that this may shock her, and however much this blog may impede her studying, I must declare that it is she who is my other hero. Did you get that? My daughter is my hero!
When Lady Bug was little, despite great effort on her part, she did not take to reading as, let's say, a duck takes to water. There was some sort of an odd mental misfire that would occur. While she might be able to read Tyrannosaurus, for example, Rex might become Xer or Erx or whatever. She tended to misfire on little words such as "on" which might become "no."
In her elementary years, we were concerned that she was falling through the cracks in the school system. She was a good kid who achieved acceptable results. Teachers, who had much bigger issues to deal with and many fires to stomp out, couldn't really fathom that Lady Bug had a problem.
Somehow, however, she found her own way out of her difficulties in high school. She began to excel in subjects like math and computers, and by dint of great tenacity was also able to pull up her other subjects as well. It was character that made the difference. If she needed to rewrite an English essay five times, she would.
While it has turned out that Lady Bug is somewhat gifted both intellectually and athletically, it's her character that I so admire: the willingness to persevere, to do the extra rewrite, to go for it, to pursue her dreams.
After several years of working, and at an age when most kids exhibit not the faintest clue about the value of money and spend it wantonly, Lady Bug had saved enough to quit her job and go travelling overseas for a whole year. On her own! She admitted to some nervousness but determined to do it. And she did.
Mama, especially, worried about her little bird who was flying far from the nest, but at that point I used a Dr Philism to describe my Lady Bug: "She doesn't live life with sweaty palms." Where others dream, she does.
And so she continues to amaze her father. After travelling for a year, she returned to university to take courses that did not to dear, old Dad seem to match her academic strengths. I worried, but I needn't have. Once again, she has shown me the power of her will and determination. She is willing to work as hard as necessary and has achieved gold key status. Lady Bug has the grades to go on to graduate school if that's what she decides to do.
Another Dr Philism: "Life is 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration."
Life is mysterious. From whence comes the character, tenacity, and determination of the Terry Foxes and Lady Bugs of this world? What drives them to be the industrious ant and not the idle grasshopper of Aesop's fables? Whatever the source, I must admire those souls who possess these qualities, especially in their youths. These are my heroes.