Wednesday, 20 October 2010

My Superhero Mum and Dad! What the video did not tell you!

Nominating a finalist in a National Competition was at first a real thrill, but the reality of being involved in a "voting" competition has taken some of the shine off an otherwise really wonderful adventure. My parents who I nominated, are not even computer literate so can not promote themselves in the virtual world at all!  As a family we don't have that drive to self-promote and find begging for votes rather embarrassing, so against the advice of the PR company, we've taken a more back seat approach.    From day one we knew we could not compete and we are happy to just sit back and let nature take its course.  We are letting our campaign run organically and grow from family, friends and contacts sharing the love!
I still stand by my original nomination.  My parents are 77 and 78.  My dad is actually a real live hero.  He fought for King and Country during the Suez Crisis.  He marched in the Queen's Coronation procession in 1952.  He saved a little boy from drowning in the swimming pool in Butlins!  He played Santa every year for local children and ran half marathons for charity.  He coached the local football team, raising funds to take them on tour.  Sadly now he is vitually crippled with arthritis in his knees and hips.  He uses a stick if it gets too bad, but being from the generation where men were men, he takes his infirmity as a slight on his masculinity.  We really want him to be able to take a more sedate approach to life and the thought of winning the VW made us think that he could possibly hang up his car keys, put away his Disabled Badge and be chaffeured around on family days out! 
My mum doesn't have quite as much of a heroic background, but she has taken care of her family tirelessly and selflessly.  She looked after her 98 year old mother until she sadly passed away in 1998.  She worked two jobs to help make ends meet when I was a child and still found time to volunteer at the local children's playcentre.  She was a mother figure to countless waifs and strays in our community, who fell in love with her kind spirit and ceaseless energy.
The video we made for the competition was of them taking on the challenge of hosting a surprise party for my 8 year old daughter.  It was difficult for my parents to actually rise to the challenge without a huge amount of help and support.  For a start at 78 my dad couldn't be insured to drive the car which we were given to help in the challenge.  So really, it was more of a team approach with my husband being responsible for the majority of the driving tasks.  My parents were run ragged over the four days being ferried about to buy local produce and party goods.  They helped with their three youngest grandchildren while we prepared for the big day.  My mum did all the baking for the party. We talked about the implications of my dad's health and how this car could transform his life.  We discussed our experience of losing  a very close family member to cancer and how this opportunity was supporting Cancer Research in her honour. 
Help came from our children who have a family band and had to write original songs to play at the party (because of copywright restrictions preventing them from singing covers or even "Happy Birthday to You"!) including "Song for my Grandparents" which had even the sound man from the camera crew in tears.  It told of the grandchildren's love and respect for their grandparents and how it felt to know they were always there to love and support them.  My parents were so moved and emotions run high.
Sadly none of these moments made it into the final cut.  We came across as a fun loving, very close, extended family...which is what we are!  But there wasn't as much depth or involvement with my parents as I would have liked. There Superhero status did not really shine through.  I thought however they looked wonderful and I was very proud and honoured to be a part of the project.
So, to me Jill and Stan will always be real life Superheros who fully deserve to be in the final three.  Although they will not win the competition, because they can not compete for the votes, they are always winners to me, my sister and our families!


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