I stole this idea from another blog I read today. The blogger wrote about those people who randomly appear in the lives of individuals with autism/ASD and touch us in a special way. As an autism mom, I worry so much about how people will react to my son’s behavior in public, and all the negative comments, looks, etc. (as one of my last posts touched on). Often, though, I don’t acknowledge those individuals in the community who pleasantly surprise me. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are people close to my family whose help, support, love, and understanding are invaluable: extended family, teachers, friends, neighbors, etc. Those are the people near and dear to my heart every single day, and they are the people I (hopefully) remember to thank regularly. But I’m talking about those people who aren’t blood related to me, don’t choose to work with special kids, etc. It’s those people who just seem to know what a kind word/look/deed can do to a family like mine who endures the stress of autism every day. Every summer, we visit my sister for the Fourth of July. Her neighbors are so kind and understanding with M; when he’s running into their houses to explore, when he’s peeking into their windows to check out their ceiling fans. There is a young man (about to enter middle-school) in that neighborhood, who is very close to my nephews, who treats M just like he were family, too. C.O. is so kind to M, plays with him, and even helps supervise him when the kids are alone outside or playing in the bounce house. It’s touching to see someone of that age who sees my son once a year, and treats him so kindly. There’s the young hairdresser at Great Clips who takes such good care of M when he goes in for a haircut. We randomly decided one weekend to give this place a try………our regular children’s barber was getting more and more difficult to see as he takes appointments only. M isn’t too bad with haircuts, but you just never know…….. We quickly explained that M is autistic, and she gave us the most assuring smile as if to say “I know”. She was so sweet and kind, gentle and assuring, and it just warmed my heart to know that someone “got it” – just met us for the first time, and she just “GOT IT”. A few years ago, my school held a fundraiser and one of the prizes was a big spinning remote control U.F.O. That toy was MADE for M. C wasn’t yet a student at the elementary school so he wasn’t participating in this fundraiser, so winning this prize was out of the question. I asked one of the young gentlemen running the fundraiser if/where I could purchase that item, explaining that my autistic son loves things that spin. Without hesitation, he pulled one off the cart and told me to take it to him. I almost cried. Ordinary people doing ordinary things that make an extraordinary difference in one person’s life; I hope everyone experiences this in some capacity in their life on a regular basis. Things like that warm your heart, and remind you that there is so much good left in the world, even when the daily headlines tells us differently. To quote one of my very favorite inspirational songs
Oh, I believe there are angels among us
Sent down to us from somewhere up above
They come to you and me, in our darkest hour
To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
To guide us with the light of love.