February is the month of love.
Stores are filled with red hearts, chocolates, and oversized teddy bears professing their love.
There is Valentine’s Day and Pink Shirt Day.
Let’s not forget it’s heart month and congenital heart defect awareness week in early February.
February = love = ♥️ ♥️ ♥️
So on that theme, at the end of the month, many schools around the province and across the country, ask students to wear pink as a symbol to spread a message of kindness and to end bullying.
Many individuals, especially children and teens, experience bullying, and children with disabilities are no exception.
I could tell you all about our experiences or stories from other families but I don’t care to spend any more energy on negativity.
I firmly believe what you send out into the universe, comes back to you.
So I am choosing to send out our ‘happy’.
Tyson is a lucky boy, who is blessed with much love and kindness from our family and friends.
Tyson’s cousins and Lincoln’s friends are just the most amazing little people to Tyson.
However, today I would like to tell you about the many times we have been blessed with kindness from strangers.
I would guess many of these people don’t even realize just how much these small acts of kindness make to our day.
We often run into issues when we leave the house and it’s no surprise that Tyson has difficulty waiting.
I avoid long lineups as much as I can and as Tyson is getting bigger, it is getting much harder to keep him safe when he decides he has had enough of a situation.
With age, grows expectation for behaviour.
People often don’t see a little boy with autism, trying his best to navigate what is a stressful environment. They see a nine-year-old misbehaving.
One trip to Dollarama, while waiting what seemed to be forever, Tyson grew impatient. So as a distraction I said to Tyson let’s count to 100 and then it will be our turn.
Listening to numbers can be very soothing for Tyson, so I started to count.
As we got to about eighty, I realized we would not get to the checkout by the time we reached one hundred.
So I stalled, talked slower, repeated a number or two, and even threw in a ninety-six and a half, ninety-seven and a half.
And then we reached 100.
There was one person ahead of us.
The lady promptly turned around and said ‘you can go ahead of me’.
I politely said that’s okay, as she was an elderly lady and she had also been waiting in the lineup, just like us.
And she said to me, ‘that sweet boy has been patiently waiting. That’s fine. You can go ahead of me.’
It was a simple gesture but I was so relieved I could have kissed her.
A simple act of kindness.
And then there was the young man working at Chapters who looked to be in his early twenties.
Again, another lineup story. (Did I mention Tyson hates lineups?)
We were waiting to pay for our books and Tyson was getting impatient. He ran from the lineup and tried to escape the store, books in hand, a couple of times before we got to the cashier.
There was crying.
There was hitting and screaming.
At that time, Tyson would not hand over the books so I would hold them up for the cashier to check them in from across the counter.
Tyson had left that part of the process twice.
I was sweating, red as a beet in the face, and just wishing the whole experience was over.
It is really hard to have an audience of onlookers when your child is having a hard time.
I could feel those adult eyes burning into the back of my head, eyes that were judging my poor parenting skills.
When we finally got the books checked in, the cashier said to me, ‘you were so calm. You did a great job’.
His comment filled my heart with happiness.
This young man could have been upset that we holding up the ever-growing line, he could have been annoyed with Tyson’s lack of manners but instead, he chose to be kind to a mom and kid that were having a hard time.
And then there was the young man at Swiss Chalet who offered to carry my takeout to my car when he saw me struggling with holding Tyson’s hand and the bags of food.
Another simple act of kindness.
Tyson enjoying sliding.
And my last story is my favourite.
It was a beautiful Saturday and I decided to take Tyson sliding.
This was two years ago and Tyson’s first year to enjoy sliding for more than 10 minutes.
Tyson was getting more independent, going down on the slide by himself. (Although I still had to run down the hill to retrieve the slide each time 😩).
Tyson spotted some older kids on the other side of the hill and noticed they were going faster and further than him.
He took off running and decided he was going to use their slide, seeing it was much faster than his.
Of course, I was a bit worried as the boys were older and Tyson doesn’t have any verbal skills to politely ask for permission.
Let me introduce you to a young boy named Logan, who immediately offered his slide to Tyson.
I politely declined and told Logan that Tyson had his own slide and won’t be able to hold onto the handles of this slide anyway.
He then offered to go down the hill on the slide with Tyson. (Please note: this was pre-COVID times before everyone was on high alert when within 6 ft of another human.)
A few minutes later, when Tyson was ascending back up the hill he decided to park his little butt right in the middle of the kid’s snow ramp.
One of the other boys made a comment, and this wonderful kiddo told his friends that they were being mean.
He also told his friends that they would be waiting for Tyson to make his way up the hill and that no one would be hitting their slide into him.
Later, Logan apologized for comments his friends made.
Can you imagine a kid apologizing for comments his friends made?
There are all kinds of people in this world, and having a child with a disability means we have been exposed to all kinds of comments from kids that have been less than ideal.
During those times, I have never heard a parent correct or even acknowledge their child’s comments, yet here was a kid correcting his peers.
And do you know that I don’t even remember now what the comment was?
It is not part of my memory of that day.
I remember a blue sky, a happy Tyson, and an amazing young boy whose kindness touched my heart.
“How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.”Morgan Freeman
My challenge to each of you is to spread a little kindness this month.
It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture.
Sometimes, something as simple as a smile can change a person’s perspective on their day.
And if you are in the sharing mood, let’s fill the comments of this post with random acts of kindness you have been a recipient of. Sharing could inspire someone else.
Happy love month ♥️