i have a dream

mlk

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” To me equality equals respect. I can’t imagine anyone, particularly parents, who was not moved with great sorrow by the senseless shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As the facts were revealed I am certain every parent and every kind hearted empathetic person learning of this news felt a pit in their stomach. Like most overly reported news I wanted to watch and didn’t want to watch. I did watch a lot however. Our boys did not ask a lot of questions and I was both surprised and relieved by that. Can you explain something you can’t even make sense of yourself? On Sunday night I was putting away laundry, not my favorite task, but a necessary event. I had the TV on and the Vigil started. I am not a very religious person but I was so overwhelmed with pride as an American to see so many faiths share the same venue. It seemed so simple in so many ways that everyone’s faith should be represented; yet religious beliefs and persuading others to observe your faith have been and still are the subject of wars and conflicts all over the world. Here in this small Connecticut town we had representatives of almost every faith I know of sharing a stage, chanting or reciting what was meaningful to their faith, without any negativity, hatred, or violence. I want to take away from this the possibility of true tolerance and coexistence.
Today I was flying back from Jacksonville to Ft. Lauderdale with my boss. The plane was overbooked and we knew every seat would be filled. My boss was on the aisle and I was in the middle. One row ahead, across the aisle from us at the window seat was a young man that clearly had some form of autism spectrum disorder. If you have a kid with this disorder you can spot them a mile away. There was no one sitting in the middle between him and a very nice man on the end. The young man, whose name is William, was loud. I asked my boss if he would mind if I switched my seat to sit next to William. I wanted to make sure that no one else would sit next to him, fearing some sort of unpleasantness. I sat down in between William and the other man, whose name is Bruce. (they were not together). William was warm and engaging but was definitely inappropriate in his loudness and some of the things he said. He told everyone we were best friends and asked to be my facebook friend. He told me he was from NY and that he was a NY Giants fan. YAY!!! The flight was about an hour. He hugged me several times and we talked about his family and that he is 20 and he wants to get a job and a girlfriend. He was going to get married someday and invite me to the wedding!! People were looking at me like I was so nice. I have my good days but I am not overly nice!! I had a few thoughts floating in my mind:

1. I hope someone would be kind to my son if he was able to fly by himself.
2. People, no matter what their disability, must be valued and respected.(the man next to me was such a doll; he engaged with William and was kind and caring.)
3. Nothing gives you perspective like innocence.

A tail tale!

Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at right.So I got a call last night from my cousin. She shared a story with me that I am going to share with you.vizsla There are so many “right” things about this story it is hard to know where to begin…
She and her husband were moving out of their home. They have an older dog, about 13, and many places in Florida do not allow you to have pets, let alone large or older pets. A friend offered to foster the dog while she and her husband were “fostered” by her sister and brother in law! Over time the foster mother of the dog mentioned that her neighbor, a family with 3 young boys, had an older dog and may be interested in adopting my cousin’s dog. Hmm, my cousin wasn’t really wanting to give up her dog, but decided to meet the family anyway. She met the mom and the boys and youngest boy liked the dog but seemed a little rough with her and a little rambunctious. My cousin gently explained how best to interact with the dog. Trusting her own instincts, she allowed her dog to go to this family’s home. Fast forward a few weeks to a call from the mother to my cousin. Apparently the youngest boy has autism. He was not a great sleeper and was never interested in their dog. However, as luck and divine intervention would have it, my cousin’s dog and this young boy forged a bond. He curls up next to her on the floor and they sleep together. The dog is content to have someone to love her and the boy has a new sense of calm and can go to sleep with ease. Ahhh…. now you see why my cousin called to relate this story to me. She knew I would eat it up; clearly I did. Animals do have a keen sense for those in need and children can sense the purity of a pet’s love. They are helping each other. My guilt ridden cousin; upset to give away her long time companion is selfless enough to share her pet with this young boy and the benefit belongs to everyone.
I must admit, however, although I love the story, the fact that my cousin thought of me in this story is what really got me. It has everything and nothing to do with autism. However, it has everything to do with love. I love you cousin Nina!!!