I like a good hero. Someone to admire and aspire to be like. I’m not so big on the pants over trousers thing but I guess if needs must.
Last weekend I went to see Music is Magic at the Cliffs Pavilion. It was an extraordinary evening of music and singing.
With the curtain down everyone packed onto the stage as the dimmed red light reflected in the eyes of the performers. People beavered around speaking in hushed tones. Instruments were hurried into place and the occasional squeal echoed backstage. I stood in the wings with a thumping heart and moist eyes. I could hear the hum of chatter coming from the crowd on the other side of the curtain. A text came through that all our friends and family were in place, hush descended and a familiar voice came over the sound system…
“Please welcome on stage The Music Man Ambassador Samantha…”
Clapping and cheers rose from the auditorium, the cacophony of emotions palpable on both sides of the curtain. Tentative singing was quickly joined by the stirring sounds of a piano, played by David Stanley. The curtain lifted and a chorus of voices joined the performance as feelings of pride, love and admiration swept across the room. I held my breath, a lump having taken residence in my throat. Straining from the wings I looked across at my eldest son on the front row of the performers and within a minute I dared to take a sigh of relief.
Glancing up I realised I was surrounded by heroes.
David Stanley sat at his piano weaving his magic and filling the room with smiles and joy; a true hero. Volunteers ran around backstage as they had done every week for the past year. Teenagers and grown ups living as regular heroes, giving up their Saturday mornings to bring music and fun to this eclectic bunch of people.
Children and adults, with a variety of disabilities, sat with parents and carers singing with passion and gusto. Heroes, each and every one; dignity and satisfaction painted vibrantly across their faces. Each performer had overcome so many challenges just to get on stage. Every one had their own story and the place oozed with determination, courage and pride.
My Hero, Ellie.
And amongst them all sat my hero, eleven-year-old Ellie. She doesn’t have special needs, is bright, beautiful and one of the most gifted young women I know. She sat quietly and diligently next to my son, holding his hand offering him effortless support and love.
I recently posted a video of a father dancing with his daughter. As music plays he lifts her out of a wheelchair and sweeps her across the stage, dancing as they go. Lots of people commented about the love and dedication this father shows his daughter. My admiration for Ellie comes from the fact that she has absolutely no reason to befriend my son. They are not related, it has never been asked of her. Yet she chooses to be a true friend to a little boy who can’t even thank her for helping him do the actions to songs. Every week she comes to greet him at music school with her beaming smile and hand of friendship.
At Christmas she sent a card with ‘To my friend’ on the front. When visiting Disney she returned with a small gift for my son. I would go so far as to say that she isn’t just any old hero; she is a super-hero.
She has a super-natural gift in seeing people for who they are, not their disability. She engages with my son with the kind of ease that has taken me years to perfect. If I could put the smallest drop of her into everyone on earth I think this world would be a better place.
As I stood in the wings and soaked in the scene I was truly overwhelmed. The way Ellie sat and held my son’s hand, whispered in his ear, and stroked his arm for reassurance filled me to overflowing. She was so natural, just being herself.
I want to be like her.
I see in her what I want others to see in me. If you ever met her you’d notice a glint in her eye and stunning smile but you probably wouldn’t notice the capacity of her heart. She is a remarkable person and yet as I write she is in school, mucking about with her friends, sitting in a class with individuals who aren’t even aware of her gift.
But then I guess that is the life of a super-hero. Going about your everyday like all the other ‘normal’ people, with your special powers concealed.
In the past my heroes have been famous; people in the limelight who get all the attention. Today my hero is in the background, quietly being exceptional and awesome.
I believe everyone has a gift. Everyone has reason to be a hero, tell me about yours and why you admire them? Let’s celebrate the people who brighten our world.
Rachel, Parent and Disability Blogger
This article originally appeared on 2/7/2014 on Born at the Right Time