Reluctant Hero

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Humour
Tags: , , , , , , ,


Throughout the ages, we have had heroes all around us. Big or small, their deeds transcend everyday living, and allow us to have renewed faith in humanity. Heroes can be larger than life, performing feats of heroism that, at times, take our breaths away. They can be groups of people, individuals that come together in one event, destined to do one thing that they normally wouldn’t, or couldn’t, do alone. An example of this was when the group of bystanders lifted the burning vehicle that was atop the young man stuck underneath after an accident with his motorcycle. This was caught on a camera-phone, much like most activities we see today. And heroes can be small….
This week, I would like to point out one such hero. He is a 13 year old boy, one which I am quite familiar with. My son, Marc-André, or as we call him, Mackie, is the hero about which I’d like to talk about. I know that there are so many heroes out there that deserve a story about them. And you may not find him as heroic as I do. But, all the same, indulge me, if you will. Allow me to write about a young man who has shown to me how much more of a great person he is than I could ever be, who is an example of what we can be if we don’t lose the magic we are given as children.
As many of you are aware, our other son, Alex, has autism. And thanks to such a great community, Alex already has risen above what society expected of him, and will continue to do so. But, as only those who have lived with autism could imagine, there is often an untold story. Siblings of brothers or sisters with autism are not talked about with the same enthusiasm. Yet, after careful analysis, we see the suffering many of these siblings have borne with dignity.
Mackie has had to grow and age knowing that his brother before him required extra attention. That did not diminish his own needs, but often seemed like it made his needs less important. They weren’t. And through all this, this wonderful boy has managed to grow into an incredibly thoughtful, giving individual that always puts others’ needs before his own. Whenever we’ve required more of him, he delivers. Only occasionally does the veneer which covers his soul show cracks. He’s endured times that nearly tore us apart. He’s helped us keep our family together through adversity. He’s been the shoulder upon which I personally have leaned on in times when things were dark. So slight of stature, yet so large in spirit as to defy all logic.
Over a year ago, Mackie decided, after talking with others who have benefited from this, to grow his hair for cancer. No big deal, right? I mean, not having to cut your hair is not a hardship. Yet, as time passed, he occasionally was made fun of. Again, no big deal, right? After all, it was for a most noble cause. Only Mackie himself can tell you how many comments were passed as he slowly grew his hair to an acceptable length. It became more than just a burden of hair. The weight of others weighed upon him. But, in true Mackie fashion, he bore this with aplomb.
If it was just hair, I’d still applaud his resolve. But, if you knew the burdens in his life as a sibling, and the chaotic affect that the aging of those around him has had on him, and the amount of time that people have relied on him to be more than he should, then what stands out is a hero. He certainly didn’t want me to write anything. And yet, no good deed goes unpunished, does it?
As he sat in the chair at Charles’ Hairstyling, beaming that beautiful look in his eyes from the pride in knowing he may have done some good for an anonymous person in need, yet destined to never really know, I couldn’t help but stand in awe at how this boy of 13 is more of a man than many that I have met, myself included. All the crosses he’s carried have made his legs strong, his back straight. And, as is true in most heroes, he doesn’t even know it.
His hair is now back to being short. He’s done his deed. He’s outlasted the comments, good and bad. And after all that, he showed his true heroic nature. He has volunteered to do it again, so that in May of his first year of high school (almost 1-1/2 years hence), someone else can make use of his beautiful hair.
How can someone feel deserving enough to have the honour of having a child such as Mackie? I struggle every day to ensure that he can be proud of me, because, for sure, I am proud of him.

  1. Children like Mackie do not complain. They are 13 on the outside, but their hearts are 35. They have learned compassion and empathy. I know, because I have one too. I can assure you that Mackie will never ask for and nor will he want the recognition. He has eyes that rove about and see what is needed and he only wants you to acknowledge that you love him and be there for him…should he ever need you. My Mackie is now a man, a husband and a father. Our household has experienced life at it’s worst and also at it’s best…and one thing is certain…we do have a hero…a once kind hearted and loving boy and now he is that as a man. I see him with his sons and I know that they too will be likewise. A parent knows…the look of a hero. You are a hero Mackie!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s