Years ago, Enrique Iglesias released a CD entitled “Escape.” Lewis was 6 years old at the time and had just entered Grade One. He had already developed one of the most eclectic musical palates I had ever come across. I knew from an early age that his musical tastes were going to be unpredictable at best. By the time he was a toddler, there were three distinct favourites that ruled his day: Luciano Pavarotti, Alan Jackson and AC/DC.
With his mother involved in the Arts — and primarily in the music industry — he not only heard a number of different genres, he met a number of interesting musicians, songwriters, composers and performers. He had been to a few professional recording studios and had even sat in on a recording session at the CBC recording studios in Regina, Saskatchewan.
At 6 years of age, Lewis had already had far more than his fair share of health issues and he had already developed a way to make each moment of his day count as much as possible. And being the intense little boy that he was, he put stock in the power of words especially the power of words put to music.
It’s important for adults to remember to keep children shielded from those things that are troublesome or hurtful or negative in life, and this is how I have parented Lewis. There have been times, however, when this was not possible and even during those times, I would take as much of the sting out of the bad news as possible.
One day, as he was thinking more deep thoughts, he asked matter-of-factly, “Mommy, when I grow up, if I can build a time machine and send you back in time to before you had me, would you have me again?”
Would you dance if I asked you to dance?
Would you run and never look back
Would you cry if you saw me crying ….
I stopped what I was working on and looked at this little boy with the weight of the world on his shoulders already. “Would I go back knowing everything about you that I know now?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said quietly.
I walked over to him, picked him up in my arms and hugged him tight and whispered in his ear, “If you sent me back a million times, I would always choose to have you, Lewis.” And with that, he hugged me tight, kissed me on the cheek and said, “Thank you.”
It was about 2 weeks after that conversation and early one morning, that I heard the radio alarm go off. My eyes closed, I listened to the first few notes of Enrique‘s latest single. All of a sudden, a little ball of energy landed on my bed and my eyes flew open in surprise. Two little warm hands grabbed my cheeks and with a decidedly Hispanic accent as authentic as any I’d heard from Ricardo Montalban or Antonio Banderas, he jumped in and sang with great gusto:
I can be you hero baby
I can kiss away the pain
I will stand by you forever
You can take my breath away
I burst out laughing and he followed suit with his infectious giggling. You see, Lewis has a way of making me smile and he has a way of making other people smile. When life deals him a difficult hand, he sits back, internalizes it and then rolls with it as best he can. And that makes him my hero.
The world needs more every day heroes. And the world needs to recognize more of the every day heroes that are already with us.
You can take my breath
I can be your hero
And maybe, just maybe, each of us can do something heroic in our own way to make this world the sort of world that recognizes that we have it in all of us to do great things with humble hearts.
In case any of you are wondering, I purchased the CD just for the song “Hero.” I still have it in my music library and whenever I put it in the CD player, the first song I play is “Hero.”