The Coolest Boy I Know-Meet Odyn

Odyn in November of 2012 when he made the choice to continue growing out his hair.
Odyn in November of 2012 when he made the choice to continue growing out his hair.

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My son Odyn is the coolest kid I know.  Yep, I said it my son is the coolest kid I know.  Why?  The reason why is that he has endured puzzled looks, snide comments, bullying from adults (yes, ADULTS) and kids alike.  Well you know what I say to everyone that has made rude comments about my child, screw you.  Yes, I will be crass about this.  I even had family making rude comments.  You have no idea the impact you are having on this little man, how you keep knocking him down thinking he can’t hear what you are saying, he can’t see you whispering to your friend behind us in line.  Kids are notorious for noticing EVERYTHING.  Plus, their hearing is unbelievably good, despite what their parents may think.

Why am I sounding like a lunatic and I feel the world is against my son?  Look at this picture it will tell you why.  

Yes, that smiling child is my SON Odyn.  He rocks.  He is by far the most caring and compassionate child I have ever met.  His hair is long but that doesn’t make him any less of a boy.  We started this journey when he was only 5 years old, and needing a hair cut.  He is only 6 right now, in two weeks he will be 7 years old.  In this journey Odyn had other plans I wasn’t aware of.  I gave him two choices, either he needed a hair cut, or a trim to shape up his hair.  Then, I thought, I will give him a third option.  ”If you don’t want to do either of those your third option is that you can grow it out for other kids with cancer for Locks of Love and it will be made into a wig for those children who have lost their hair due to the medicine that helps them get better.”  He chose the third option, shocking us all.  I can’t go back on my word because I thought he wouldn’t choose to have long hair, I embraced his tenacity and most of all what he said when he made his decision.  Odyn told me, “I want to help the world, and the kids that have cancer.”  Melt.My.Heart.  I then thought to myself, I MUST be doing this whole parenting thing right if this is what my child at 5 years old chooses to do.

Fast forward a few months.  The snickering starts. I told Odyn’s teacher what was going on, and told him about the boys picking on him and Mr. D took a proactive approach, and told Odyn’s classmates what he was doing and they all understood.   I was really laid back about it to begin with, then the mother bear came out.  At first I thought ‘he is a big boy, he can tell his friends what is going on’, and he did.  The first 6 months there were very few problems.  Summer began, the problems began too.  Summer school was especially hard.  Odyn would go to a new class every two weeks, the first week I didn’t realize there would be any problems.  A week into the first session he told me he was getting picked on in the bathroom.  It took him a WEEK to tell me there was any issues.  I immediately went to the teacher and told her what was going on.  She was sympathetic and helped him out and it lessened.  Then the next week Momma Bear went to each teacher after that and told them ahead of time what has been happening and to PLEASE defend my little man.  Uggg, by the time summer school was done, I was exhausted by the situation.  It was STILL happening.   I just wanted to pull these little boys who were picking on my kid in the bathroom and tell them what jerks they were being, but I refrained.

We used sweat bands during soccer so he wouldn’t have to wear a ponytail (again, due to ADULTS and kids).  Still at least once a day he was called a girl.  Not a single item in is wardrobe had a light color, pastels, or glitter.  We would pull his hair half back for Tae Kwon Do, and that he HATED doing that.  Let the girl comments begin from the adults.  ’She’ this, ‘She’ that.  I can’t tell you how many times I had to almost shout the word HE to people a day when I was out and about with Odyn.


The trip to get his hair cut today was planned and we were on our way.  At first, all is going exceedingly well.  It happens to be shop small Saturday, so we ended up at Hair Benders in Okauchee.  JC was our stylist.  She agrees that the best way to cut his hair and get the most length is to do many small ponytails.

Then reality sinks in.  Odyn is speechless.  He is cowering behind the cape.  His eyes are close to overflowing with tears.  He collects himself in the shelter of the cape.  I cry real tears, and explain to him, that he is amazing.

The final result after a year of growing out his hair.  It is astounding what a difference a hair cut can make.

I am not writing this to make  you feel bad for my son.  I said it once and I will say it again.  He rocks.  He dealt with all this BS for a whole year to help another child who has cancer.  Was it worth it?  Yes, absolutely.  Those children he is helping with the creation of a wig are enduring far more than he did.   There were definitely some angels in his corner, and friends who stuck up for him when he didn’t or couldn’t.  To you, thank you.  So parents, please teach your children to not judge a book by its cover.  The story that is inside is much different than what it appears.  My son was not going through an identity crisis, he was just doing his part to “Help make the world a better place.”  The strength of Odyn to endure this amazes me and I am SO proud to call him my son.  I cried when he cut his hair today, not because I was sad, because I was so proud of him.  I realize that with him and the rest of my kids that I must be doing something right.  I cry as I write this now.  My son ROCKS!

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Alyson McMahon December 10, 2013 at 09:15 AM
What your son did is awesome! Especially hearing the pain that he endured because of people's snickers and comments. Some people are just plain rude and that's so sad. Great job, Odyn!!
Angela Armbrecht December 10, 2013 at 01:12 PM
My son has sensory issues and begs to keep his hair long - he feels more comfortable with it long, like he's hiding behind his hair, like no one can see him. He also gets nasty comments (yes, even from relatives, even Grandma!) and has gotten relentlessly bullied (even the bus driver wouldn't step in). He's not doing it for the noble reasons that your awesome son did, but it means so much to him that we allow it. People need to chill out and be nicer - it's just hair!
Melissa Peterson December 11, 2013 at 09:26 AM
I think that Odyn is going to grow his hair out again. I probably as Mom was more aware of what was being said than he was (which I am thankful for). He even has one of his buddies who says he is going to join him on this journey. The strength and resiliency of a child should never be ignored. I am all about self expression (my three year old has worn a batman cape I made him for 2 years now EVERYWHERE) and if they aren't hurting anyone, just let them be. I hope that he inspires a few more adults to understand, and think outside of the box more and maybe a few more hair donations. @angela- That seems like a perfectly good reason to grow out his hair if you ask me!
Jacqui Thomas December 11, 2013 at 11:47 AM
God Bless You Sweetheart. Long or short hair you rock! God rocked long hair and he is AWESOME!!!
Betty Buchko December 11, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Odyn, you really DO rock!!! If you have this much compassion and generosity at such a young age, you are going to grow up to do great things in this world! We need more people like you, don't let the people who teased you get you down, you are more of a man now than they could ever hope to be. And as for your mom, she's awesome too, she clearly is doing everything right! Merry Christmas Odyn to you and your family.
Breakingthelaw December 11, 2013 at 07:34 PM
Kelly O'Neill Amaral December 12, 2013 at 06:00 AM
YOUR SON ROCKS!!!!!!! And, so do you :)
Melissa Peterson December 12, 2013 at 09:46 AM
I just want to let you guys know, I will be writing down all of the kind words for Odyn to read when he feels down on himself when he is older and let him know what people REALLY think of him. Thank you to the kind words for me, maybe when I am feeling like a bad Mom I should pull them out to look at as well.
Amy DM December 12, 2013 at 02:20 PM
Locks Of Love VERY rarely allows kids with cancer to be wig recipients. They require the hair loss to be semi- to totally permanent. Even when granted a hair piece, the families must pay for it on a sliding scale. If you would really like a hair donation to help kids with cancer, check out http://www.wigsforkids.org/
Ken T December 13, 2013 at 12:07 AM
I think he looks super cool. Adults judged him? Gawd. Whatever. They have to live with themselves and sad existence. He's a super cool little dude. Hats off to this little caring pioneer. Maybe he will grow it back or maybe not. He learned to be independent and charity at the same time.
Leslie McCormack December 13, 2013 at 10:17 AM
Odyn, I know of a young lady when she got her first wig in the 80's before you were even born. I remember her having to deal with adult hair wigs. There is a difference. She had ALL Leukemia and was going to be hairless the rest of her life. Back then the treatments were experimental. She still occasionally wears a wig. Has to in some ways to fit in. She knows that pain of teasing and remembers it as an adult. What you do makes all the difference in the world to these sick kids. Know it. Believe it. I have seen it! I hope your friend does it with you too!
Tj December 13, 2013 at 05:36 PM
I, too, have had my beautiful golden locks shorn at JC Penney's. I, too, have cried bitter tears of remorse upon seeing my buzz cut reflected in the barber's mirror. I, too, have been bullied, battered, bruised, and beaten by my ADULT tormentors since the age of five, who laughed and pointed as I cried. They would taunt me: "HI GIRLFRIEND! WHERE YOU GOIN'?" and "YOU LOOK LIKE YOU GOT YOUR HAIR CUT AT JC PENNEY'S!" Pay them no never mind, Odyn. Play your sports or play with dolls at your leisure. If you want to dress up like a woman and parade your screaming children down Main Street in a broken stroller at midnight, you go right ahead, girl!


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