I have always been lucky to have a close relationship with my son. Through the years, we were a family who really talked around the dinner table. During his life, I have had a million reasons to be proud of him and thankful that I get to be his mother.
He is kind. He is generous. He is wise. He is an advocate. He is an ally. He speaks up when he has something to say. He speaks up for those that don’t have a voice.
He is the co-founder of our advocacy clothing line Stand Up Speak Up Apparel and help to create many of the designs. He proudly sports our shirts at school, when out with his friends and in his videos.
He is an artist and creator. He is an entertainer. He is a storyteller.
Here are a few of the reasons why I have been even more inspired by and thankful for Zach since my cancer diagnosis.
- He made this film with utter fearlessness and it gave me courage to do a short film wearing my diapers
2. To him, Canadians are Canadians . If I ask him where one of his friends is from he says “Canada” and does not offer up their ethnicity – because it genuinely doesn’t make a difference to him what someone’s background is. He only cares about what type of person they are.
3. At 18, he knows who he is and what his moral compass is. I do not think I even knew what that term meant before he told me. It is not about doing “the right thing” according to someone else’s rules but instead taking the time to listen to your own instincts and understanding your own values in a way where you know if you are doing right or wrong for yourself and those around you. It is about making choices that help you to be a better person and help to improve the world around you.
4. He knows he can change the world. This has given me inspiration to just start doing the work and not think too much. So many of us get bogged down in wondering if we are enough to effect real changing or waiting to jump onto a movement started by someone else. But little actions add up and everything you do has the potential to have a big impact – whether that’s on one person or a million.
5. He has opened my eyes up the power of film as a historical lens to see the world’s continuously changing values and ideals. Films are such great snapshots of what was going on in the world when they were made. This means we can see problematic things that wouldn’t fly today. But, there is also great art and lost messages to be discovered.
6. Zach always tells me when I have a non traditional idea … He says, “just remember never be a rebel without a cause.” I love this so much because it not only shows what a timeless wise person he is but also reminds me that I can do more when I focus my energy on smaller things instead of trying to fix everything in a day.
7. When I complain about a quality about myself Zach always says, “if you can’t hide it, highlight it”. This is exactly how I approached my cancer diagnosis. It is also such a miraculous statement coming from a teenager as that is a time when it can be difficult being different. It gives me hope that his generation will be kinder and more accepting.
These are just a few of the reasons why my son is my hero and why I am so thankful for him. One thing to say for being diagnosed with cancer is that it makes you cherish time and make the most of moments. I hope we will still have a million more.