While it does crack me up to follow the votes on who's going to win the Golden Douche Award for 2010, I'm still looking for more happy. Therefore, I present to you, ten people who aren't douchebags at all. In fact, there is a level of awesomeness that goes above and beyond the call. When I have a day that sucks my faith in humanity dry, this is the list I look back on and remember that many people shine brightly, inspiring me to do better because of their choices.
Here are the people that inspired me the most this year.
January: Haiti Earthquake Rescue and Relief Workers. Within hours of this devastating earthquake, nations as near as the Dominic Republic and as far away as Iceland were responding with medicine, food, water, and volunteers.
February: The New Orleans Saints. Look, I'm an Eagles fan. But if they're not going to the Bowl, then I root for the team with the best back story. With the Saints? I probably would have rooted for them even if they'd been playing against the Eagles. I doubt that any city, at any time, needed a win more than New Orleans needed this Super Bowl win. The Saints were the underdogs, having lost the last three games of the regular season.
March: My Parents. You know what my parents probably weren't looking forward to in their retirement? Having their three bedroom home invaded by their adult daughter, her unemployed husband, their four kids and two cats. Oh, yeah, and one of the kids has ADHD, one has autism, and all have massive anxiety issues. Also? One of the cats is special needs as well. The cat is deaf and has balance issues and a tendency to fall into the fireplace.
You know what my parents did? Welcomed us with open arms. My dad put my husband to work painting the garage so he wouldn't lose his mind and/or do crossword puzzles 12 hours a day. My stepmum baked cakes and let the kids decorate them. We filled the house to bursting and made it work. It was kind of awesome. In March, we left my parents' house after living with them for five months.
Open Letter to Stupid People," and I was all, Kunta Kinte, I have found you.
Kate and Lydia made me laugh at a time when I needed the funny desperately. I spent a significant chunk of time reading their old posts, and had an epiphany: blogs could be funny. Not just funny, but snort-coffee-out-your-nose funny.
May: My Husband. This is kind of an every day thing, but since he puts up with my constant nonsense and got me a gift certificate for a spa for Mother's Day, I'm slotting it in for May. The man is awesome. Yesterday I mentioned that I needed to pick up some vitamin C supplements because the kids all have colds and I don't have time to get sick. He pointed out that I could just add more orange juice to my Frodkas and make them into health drinks. Awesome, I tell you.
June: Urban Prep Charter School, Chicago, IL. In June, all 107 graduating seniors of the all-black, all-male high school were headed to college, despite the fact that only four percent of them could read at grade level as freshmen.
July: My Friends. My friends are like family to me. I love them so much that in July I packed me and the four kids into the van, and drove cross-country without my husband. It was worth it. The kids and I descended on a few different houses, and our friends graciously hosted us and acted like it was no big deal to add five people to a row house for a week at a time. Special shout-out here to my friend Meredith, who still has not stabbed her douchey ex in the eyeball with a fork. I'm really proud of her for that.
August: Little Dude's Special Education Team. In August, Little Dude started full-day preschool. His special needs team includes a lead teacher and two special needs paraprofessionals (classroom aides). They are the kindest, most patient women I have ever met. They take care of my son like he was their own. They push him to try harder than I do, and without them he would not be nearly as independent as he is now. They made potty success a part of his life. They meet his specific, unique needs, working with him on shirt buttons as well as multiplication tables.
Dan Savage and his partner Terry made a YouTube video, hoping to inspire young people facing harassment. They wanted to let teens know that it gets better. This one video paved the way for a world-wide movement, The It Gets Better Project, which was and is amazing. The most important part of this movement is that now millions of teens now have the number for the Trevor Project crisis intervention hotline, 1-800-4-U-TREVOR.
October: The Chilean Miners. Thirty-three Chilean miners came to the surface after 69 days trapped underground in a collapsed mine. The fact that not one of them went batshit crazy during that time, nor became some kind of insane reality television star afterwards, is testament to the immense strength of character of these men.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who became the first living Afghan War soldier to receive the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor for valor. He put himself in the line of fire twice to try to save two fellow soldiers. In one case, he saw an injured U.S. soldier being carried away by two enemy insurgents. SSgt. Giunta ran into enemy fire, fought the two insurgents, and brought his fellow soldier back to cover. That soldier later died of his wounds. SSgt. Giunta, both heroic and humble, said at the November 16 medal ceremony, "I would give this back in a second to have my friends with me right now." SSgt. Giunta is 25 years old.
December: My Kids. Okay, also the nice people who make the medications that help my kids to be happier, more functional members of society. But mostly my kids. As I wrote yesterday, my kids have recently all had some pretty great accomplishments, whether it's spelling bee wins or triumphing over fears. I am immensely proud of them, and they inspire me to be a better parent and a better person every. damn. day.