Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all
And sweetest is the gale is heard; and sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm...
~Emily Dickinson

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014. Let's reflect a bit ;)

If there's ever a time to share stories of compassion, kindness, and hope it's now.
Cliche? Maybe a little, but we all need inspiration and damn it feels good to feel your insides all warm and fuzzy.
So on that note I wanted to share a few of my favorite memories this past year with my kids, my journey with Autism, my life, my lessons…

1. It was summer time, and I hate to admit why I remember why but let's just say that some people smell better than others when in the hot California sun all day. The kids and I pulled up to our favorite Circle K stop and outside there was a homeless man sitting with all his bags begging for change. Kannon immediately noticed him and walked right up to him and said "hello, why do you look so sad?" I pulled Kannon inside the store and into the soda aisle. Kannon just could not shake it off though. He pulled back and looked out the front window at the man and just watched for a few minutes. After Kalena and I got our drinks I asked Kannon if he wanted to get anything. He walked to the back of the store and after about 3 minutes appeared with an armful of everything. Water, Coke, Gatorade, Top Ramen, Chef Boy R De ravioli, Sour Patch Kids, Doritos and to finish it off a silk rose…you know those cheesy random things only gas stations or Circle K's have for that late, late night purchase.
Anyways, I obviously asked what the heck all this was and to put it back. He shook his head so quickly and said to me "NO mamma, this is for the sad man."
How could I ever dispute such compassion?
So as we left the store Kannon proudly walked right up to the homeless man, gave him the plastic bag full of goodies and then ever so carefully pulled out the rose last and said, "Don't be sad, it's ok…thank you...have a nice day."
I love that he told the man thank you. The man was truly set off guard and said thank you to Kannon. He also smiled at Kannon…and that was all Kannon wanted. His face lit up after that and all was well again as far as Kannon was concerned. My little Buddha.

On a side note, I italicized earlier the words  begging for change, because after we got in the car Kalena asked what that man was doing outside like that. I told her he was asking people for help and for change to help him out.
Her innocent, beautiful response was: "Only he can change his life mom…"

2. One afternoon Kannon and I were watching television and a commercial came on that was advertising some organization that helped children who had different diseases. It showed images of sickly, bald children in wheelchairs and in bed. It truly was heartbreaking. Kannon was just so engaged by the images and he did not budge or blink the entire time. I just sat behind him on the couch watching.
After the segment was over he turned to me and said "They have hurt huh momma?"
Me: "Yes buddy they are sick kiddos that need doctors and medicine."
Kannon: "Oh no, that's so sad…but they are so beautiful…beautiful princesses…it's o.k…they will find their home, they will find the castle in the sky…"

This was a time when I just teared up immediately and smiled at Kannon.
His ability to see beauty in people, nature, LIFE, no matter what the circumstances may be is…ironic and wonderful. It brings me to tears every damn time.

3. I have already spoke of this in a previous post, but wanted to share again because of the underlying lesson.
Kannon and I were at the park and he found a group of boys who were playing chase and he joined in without their permission or invite, but Kannon never seems to care about that…he sees fun and he wants in :)
After chase the boys settled into the sand box area and Kannon started to try engaging them in his version of "conversation", which bless his heart can be very broken and not clear at all.
This is the moment when ALL kids realize something isn't "normal" about him and they either walk away or some will stay and continue to play with Kannon…he can be quite infectious.
Anyways, these boys stuck around for about 10 minutes and I stayed my distance to allow things to play out as I didn't see any reason to intervene yet.
Well I was wrong.
As Kannon sat smiling and laughing in the sand the boys stood up dumped a bucket full of sand on Kannon's head while calling him a retard, laughed at him and ran off…laughing and yelling "retard."
Kannon shook his head of sand, turned to the laughing boys, waved and yelled "thank you for playing with me boys…thank you for being my friend..."

All I could do at that moment is take a deep breath, suck it up and walk over to my sandy baby boy...

My heart broke for him…and he had no idea any pain was necessary at all.
This is what I am grateful for.
Whether it is ignorance, misunderstanding, or pure choice…he rises above and finds peace.
He really does. 98% of every life moment he finds happiness, laughter, fun, acceptance.
It is amazing.
It is inspiring.

4. This past year Kannon's best friend moved away.
Now she is not your typical best friend of a 9 year old boy, but Kannon is not your typical boy either. She was one of his therapists that worked with him almost every day for 5 years straight. She always had his back, always made him feel good about himself, and never once let him down.
He suffered a huge loss when she moved. I wanted to say a devastating loss…but Kannon didn't process it like that.
This is what makes him amazing.

When J moved away, he did for the first time show a great deal of sadness. Sadness that I never knew he had in him…but he was just processing the loss in his own way and time.
If you've ever experienced a loss in your life, you know how it can shake your world to the core.
It can be paralyzing. Devastating. Life changing.

But not for Kannon, he chose to celebrate J after she left. Instead of allowing his sadness to overcome him he went the other way. He put up drawings, notes, colorings they had done together along with his own drawings that made him happy all over his room. He asked if she was "o.k" almost every night before bed and when I said she was, he would smile and go to sleep.
He kept moving forward. He was happy knowing she was happy, he surrounded himself with his memories of her, and he found peace with that.

He chose to take his loss and find peace with it, celebrate the time he had with her, and never forget those memories…at the tender age of 9.
Man I wish I had known how to deal with loss like this years ago.
Sure would've saved a lot of heartache.
He however just instinctively knew what to do.

I wish more than anything I could somehow make everyone reading this feel what I feel when I watch my son go through his life everyday.
Not because it is more than anyone's journey. Only because of all it has given me…I wish it could give back to others too.

All his hard work, dedication to self, kindness, and compassion towards every person he meets in life…
It is beyond my grasp at times. At times it truly brings my head out of my mind and back in my heart where it belongs.

I wish for all of you a magical New Year.
I hope you find peace with life, with others, and mostly with yourself.
To find acceptance in your everyday existence and all that comes to you can be very eye opening.
It can bring a great deal of calm and joy to your heart.

Forgive others, even if they aren't sorry.
Find the beauty in all things thrown your way.
Say hello to strangers, hell even smile at them.
Stop and smell the roses.
Never ever judge others, you just don't know what journey they may be on.
Live simply so others can simply live.

My favorite would have to be,
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”-Gandhi

Happy 2014!

and, peace :)