05/07/2008 By Shawn Burns

When Erin was born I started having these urges to heroism: I’d imagine that we’d be backpacking along in The City somewhere and I’d see a mugging going on and somehow I’d intervene (safely, without endangering Erin in any way whatsoever, of course :} ). Or I’d imagine going to Darfur to defend refugee camps and  help air drop supplies to the refugees. Or I’d imagine running (ok, walking) a marathon to help raise money to fund something (the Bunion Relief Association possibly).

My point here is just that when Erin was born I developed an insane hero-complex. I feel like I need to do something to change the world for the better, to show her it can be done by one person, to inspire her for the rest of her life.

My daydreams have been darker too. I envision morbid little scenarios in which I die doing something to save her, her mom, some stranger, a kitten, because in that moment I decide that I need to teach my daughter how to be a hero.

Today I’m obsessed with Joseph Richardson’s story. He died, pinned against a guard rail by a car driven by a drunk driver; but he died holding his little girl up over his head to keep her from being smashed. She will live because he had a perfect moment of clarity before the car struck him.

In my darker moments I hope I can achieve that same perfect moment of clarity.

Heroic clarity.

In my more illuminated moments I realize that I don’t have to stop a mugger or limp a marathon or die in a suitably tragic manner to teach her about heroism.

I just have to point at her mom, who works too much because we moved to an area that demands it so that I could go to graduate school, and so that I can spend my days playing with my daughter.

I just have to point at how loving, focused, and strong her mother is.

I just have to memorialize the sacrifices her mom makes to keep us healthy and happy at home.


That should take care of Mother’s Day, right? ;}

Excuse me, I have a diaper to change and a lunch to make.