Sometimes it takes time to appreciate your parents. When you’re a kid, their sole purpose in life seems to be making you do things you don’t want to do. Eat your vegetables. Go to church. Go to bed.
But if you’re lucky enough to have cool parents, you start to appreciate them as you get older. These Quora users are here to remind you that there are loads of awesome parents out there, but sharing how epic their moms and dads are.
What’s your epic parent story? Let us know!
In the army, my dad drove a tank and was an expert marksman. He was so skilled that the army let him keep a moustache, even though that wasnt technically permitted. One day, some other soldiers asked the commanding officer why my dad got to have facial hair and they didnt. The commander said, If you shot as well as he did, you could wear a mustache on your [expletive] for all I care. My dad was so epic the army was scared to mess with him.
My mom became pregnant with me at 18, when my dad was 21. They had just been married.
In order to support our family, he got a job working minimum wage at a taco joint in Palm Springs.
Fast forward 16 years, and hes managing restaurants all over the country. He was even offered the VP position of an incredibly popular fast food chain, but turned it down in order to keep my family from moving again.
He started from the bottom. He was barely 21 and had just barely finished his GED when he started supporting us. Now, he’s incredibly successful.
However, the most epic thing hes done is save three teenagers lives.
He was traveling for work when he came across an accident. The car was on fire and the passengers were still inside.
He pulled over and risked his life to save those three teenagers.
He pulled the kids out before the car could explode. They all survived.
My dad was decorated with some kind of medal for saving those kids, and he was featured in many newspapers.
One of the kids mothers was so grateful tht she made a blanket for my dad and sent it to him. He gave me the blanket, and I still sleep with it every night nearly 9 years later.
As a physician and the head of his department, my dad was often burning the candle at both ends. We almost always ate dinner as a family — I have fond memories of my dad swooping through the door and kissing my mother hello as he dropped his briefcase and shrugged off his white coat. He always tried his hardest to make big events, and when he was on call he would cheer my basketball team or watch my play with his hand wrapped around his pager in case it buzzed him back to the hospital.
But about twice a month, always on a Tuesday, my mom would set out 4 placemats instead of 5, and she and my two siblings and I would eat without my dad. Whenever we asked where he was, she said, Hes got second opinion tonight.
I just assumed second opinion was a doctor thing, like being on call or getting your hair cut by a lab attendant (which my dad did every single month). But when my father retired, an organization called CARTI gave him an award. I attended the ceremony, and I finally found out what my dad had been doing all those Tuesdays since I was a small child.
Often, when a person is diagnosed with cancer, the doctor recommends you get a second opinion before embarking on a course of treatment. This is especially the case when the treatment is invasive or otherwise serious. However, a lot of people simply cant afford to see another doctor, or their insurance doesnt support it.
My father, using his gift of gab and his charisma, sweet-talked a group of his fellow doctors into creating a group where people with a diagnosis of cancer could receive a second opinion for free.
The group had a rotating cast of doctors, but my dad was there every single time. He saved several people from needless surgeries, and in some cases saved lives by seeing that a more aggressive tactic was needed. He did all this in his scarce free time, he convinced his buddies to do the same, and he never accepted any money for it.
At the time, my dad was 32 and my mum was 29. They were high school sweethearts, happily married with two amazing daughters (me, 8 years old and my sister 5). Our mornings were like those TV ads you used to see; all smiles and laughter and butter kisses and giggles.
When we came home from school, mum and dad would build Lego castles with us and watch Care Bears.
It all changed in one day. My mum started complaining that her stomach hurt. She went to the hospital, and within a few weeks, she had been diagnosed with a very aggressive type of cancer.
My sister and I were sent away on holiday with family friends for a few weeks in the summer – dad said he would come visit us (he was spending his time between work and the hospital). While we were on holiday, I remember watching a TV ad about our local zoo bringing in a brown bear for a few weeks. I was so excited; my favourite Care Bear was going to be there! I told my sister and then called dad to ask him to take us to the zoo. He promised he would.
On the last day my bear was going to be at the zoo, dad took us. My sister and I had the time of our lives. It seemed like dad did too. Seemed.
It turns out my mum had passed away the day before. He told my aunt: I promised the girls we would go to the zoo. They love that bear. I can’t let them down. He was smiling the entire day we were at the zoo, though he was probably dead inside.
For me, that was the most epic thing a parent could do.
After my dad passed, Homeland Security paid us a visit to inform us we were under investigation, as he had been illegally dealing arms on an international level.
Oh, wait. That wasn’t epic. Life isn’t Hollywood. He was a rather cruel and aloof figure in my upbringing, fraught with mental illnesses that plagued our family for years.
You know who was epic? My mom. She was a freaking superwoman who ensured I appreciated education for everything it offers, who worked herself to the bone after we went bankrupt after my dad passed.
This woman sacrificed her incredibly dazzling future to care for a daughter who came a bit too soon. But, of course, because she’s the woman she is, she decided to go to college with a newborn and complete her BA. That wasn’t enough, so a Master’s Degree was the obvious course of action.
My mom is epic in every way. I’d love to give you the most epic thing my mom has done. But I think thats just exiting an persevering.
When I was in 5th grade, I saw my father do something completely incredible.
It was a typical night for our, family sitting around watching television on a weeknight.
Then, all of a sudden… BAM BAM BAM!
Someone was pounding on the door, scaring all of us out of our seats. My father jumped up and opens the door.
On the front stoop was our neighbor, holding her infant child, who was naked, upside down, and blue.
The baby boy was choking on a piece of candy that he had somehow managed to get his hands on.
The neighbor lady had tried to turn him over and shake him in an attempt to dislodge the candy, but it didnt work. So she ran to our house.
My dad calmly grabbed the child and gently performed the Heimlich maneuver. The candy shot right out of his gullet, and the normal color returned to the childs face. I just stood there in awe. The mother cried and couldnt stop thanking my father.
My dad worked for the post office, but volunteered for the fire department as an EMT. He also volunteered for the Police and was a baseball and softball umpire. Just like most boys, we didnt always get along, but I always respected the amazing things he did in his life.
When my mom was about 10 years old, she suffered the misfortune of having the worst teacher imaginable. He used to punish his students if they didnt know the answer, or if they made a mistake. This wasnt really all that unusual at that time, but this man took his punishments to a whole new level.
The boys had to stick out their arms, palms up and fingers pointed upwards. The teacher would then whack their fingers with his ruler. His big, wooden ruler. And he held nothing back.
When my mother was asked to answer a question, she admitted she didnt know it. The teacher told her to come forward to receive her punishment, but she refused. She said she did not want to be punished as a girl, but as a boy. So she stuck out her left arm, palm up, with her fingers pointing upwards. And I should add, my mother can only use her left arm. Still, she requested the punishment that would result in her only usable arm being hurt.
When the teacher refused to punish my mother like a boy – as she had requested – she asked him why. His only answer was that she was a girl and not a boy and should thus be punished as such. This guy was a real creep, and he used to punish the girls by spanking.
So my mother calmly called him a pedophile in front of the class. There was complete silence as the students – who had never stood up for themselves or each other – sat and marvelled.
The teacher, of course, felt less inspired by my mothers choice of words and angrily shouted at her to go to the principal. My mother, head held high, walked out of the classroom, ignored his order to go to the principal, and waited in the hallway.
About halfway through the period, the French teacher saw her standing in the hallway. She came over to talk to her. She asked why my mother got sent out this time.
My mother looked her straight in the eye, and told her about the disgusting actions of her teacher. The French teacher got really pale when she heard that. Her own daughter was also in his class!
She asked my mom if her daughter also let the teacher spank her, and when my mother answered in the affirmative, she rushed into the classroom and started an enormous fight.
My mothers school day was over, so she went back home. There, she found out that her parents had been called. They had been told she created a huge fight in school and her parents were obviously quite upset. But when my mother told her father exactly what the fight was about, grandpa was furious. He went to the school and made sure the teacher wouldnt get away with this.
So, my mothers most epic moment was when she single-handedly stopped a child abuser who had been spanking girls for years, when no one else had done anything about it. My mother was, by the age of ten, already the strongest person I will ever know.
Unfortunately, the teacher didnt go to jail. I dont know why, but he was only suspended for a month, before he was able to go back to work. As a teacher in the same school. But of course, everyone by then knew about what he had done. He never again dared to touch another girl. So I guess that, without sending him to jail, she did put an end to the harassment on school property. And that is pretty epic.
When I was about 5, my father and brothers were fixing a tire on the family car. The jack slipped (it was the old kind) and the car rolled back on my foot. My father, upset because my brothers tomfoolery had caused it, lifted the side of the car so I could be pulled out. From that point on, he was officially Superman in my eyes.
Some years later, in the evening, I see my father standing on the porch watching some people doing something way at the end of our yard near the road (we lived on a farm with lots of land). When a cars lights shone on the spot, I saw that they had erected a large, wooden cross and started to light it on fire (were Black). I was terrified, but my father got his gun and chased after them. He caught them (didnt hurt them), hauled them to the police station where they apologized. He was beyond Superman at that point.
Many years later, when my father was older and age began to affect his driving, he, my mom and I were accosted by some guy who was furious because my dad drove too slowly. He cursed at us, called us all sorts of racial expletives, and I just knew Superman would do something. Then my father said calmly, Well, Im sorry. I dont feel the same way about you. The man was gobsmacked and so were we. At that point, my father was immortal.
Ive lived the rest of my life trying to be like him.
The only time I ever remember my dad getting angry was in September 1969. That entire month was a very trying, sad time in our lives.
It began on September 13, when Army personnel came to our house to notify me that my first husband, an Army combat medic, had been killed in action in Vietnam on September 5, 1969 — eight days earlier.
In the days that followed, there was so much to do. Funeral arrangements had to be made, a cemetery plot and headstone decided upon, the Army and the local newspaper came to the house to present several medals posthumously, and we were notified that his body would arrive at the Columbus Airport on September 19 — another six days away.
As I said, it was an emotional time for my entire family and I was heartsick and feeling drained.
We had just returned from the funeral and I was lying on the couch in Mama and Daddys living room.
There was a knock at the front door and I remember Mama saying, Oh Joe, not now. No more today. Shes been through enough. Just thank whoever it is and tell them shes lying down — Ill call them later.
The house had been like Grand Central Station with an almost continuous stream of friends, neighbors, and relatives bringing food and love and hugs. Still, I listened to find out who it was.
It was a pair of door-to-door religious proselytizers. Normally, my Daddy would politely ask them to leave, but today it wasnt working. He told them sternly, We just buried my son-in-law today. He was killed in Vietnam. Ive kindly asked you to leave. Now Im telling you.
We dont believe in sending our sons to war. Those who die without faithfully serving God will receive the ‘resurrection of the unrighteous.’
I think thats when the top of Daddys head blew off, because I heard the front door slam shut.
Mama told me weeks later that he grabbed each of the men by their belts and the back of their shirt collars and threw them off the front porch into the grass.
Without saying another word, they left.
Answers edited for clarity.