(* - a Portuguese word that means "Mother Dearest")
When I was younger, I used to think of Spiderman, He-Man and She-Ra as heroes. They were heroes because of their super powers, their quest for good and their fancy costumes. Every Saturday morning, I used to sit in front of the television mesmerized by them. Over the years, my idea of a hero has changed. Today I believe that a hero is someone who cares about people and is not afraid to show it. A hero must know what his or her beliefs are and stand by them. A hero must have courage and be stubborn at times.
The first person who comes to mind as my hero is my great-grandmother. She has all the qualities I have just described. She and her brother immigrated to the United States while in their twenties, while the rest of her family remained in Portugal. She got a job, married and began a family. Achieving this in a new country shows courage and determination. My great-grandmother has had to deal with the death of her parents, her siblings, and some of her children, but through it all, she never lost faith in her religion or herself. She used to baby-sit me, so I feel close to her. Even today, at 104 years old, she has not changed much; she is still very opinionated and has all her mental faculties. Although she wears sweat suits instead of colored costumes and glasses instead of a mask, my great-grandmother will always be my hero because she taught me a lot about life. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.