Just like every parent of an autistic child, I have my good days and my days of tears, stress and concerns. I am happy to say that as Peyton gets older my super stressed days seem to be getting less and less. This in no way means I don’t have those days when I feel like I am swimming upstream and will never reach shore. It’s during these days that the tiniest bit of support, love and care means more than I can put into words. If there is one thing I hope others who read my blogs get from them, is how your support and understanding really helps those of us who need it. I want to share with you some of the awesome things people have done for me and my family, some are very small and quiet things, others are “wow thank you” moments…but they all have touched my heart. I will be writing several blogs in this series each highlighting different awesome moments of kindness.
I have had many awesome moments throughout Peyton’s life where complete strangers have shown both he and I not only understanding but left an impression for years . When Peyton was young he hated having to get new shoes, I dreaded going to the shoe department and having him get new shoes….my daughter would go with me and together we would try to keep him calm. It was fast approaching fall and I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer..so the three of us left and went to the mall. We decided to go to Nordstrom as I wanted him to have “good shoes”. When we arrived at the store, I told the sales clerk that he was autistic and hated getting new shoes. She listened and smiled with a warm, it’s ok smile. She was Kurdish. After having grown up in Northern Iraq, dealing with a child crying hysterically over shoes wasn’t a problem in her world. She saw Peyton by the large aquarium they had in the shoe department and asked if he loved fish…I said oh yes that he had an aquarium and it was comforting for him. She quietly walked over to him and began to talk with him about the beautiful fish in the tank. He was thrilled someone else thought they were awesome. She then told him she would put a chair right by the aquarium and he could sit and watch the fish swim, as she found shoes that both he and the fish would love….to my surprise he sat down and engaged with her. She asked him which was his favorite fish..he told her the blue and yellow one…she walked over to me and asked what “type of shoe” he needed. I told her a leather sneaker. She then got him to let her measure his foot. He was so engaged with the aquarium he wasn’t crying or stressing. The next thing I know she comes back with a pair of blue and yellow sneakers. She makes a big deal out of how they were like the fish. Peyton thought that was “so cool” he tried them on and to my delight they fit great. I watched in amazement how this woman who 30 minutes earlier was a complete stranger and now she was someone who made such an impression in my heart. Yes, she made a sale…but more than that she made a little boy, who hated to get new shoes, a happy little boy who walked away smiling. He called those shoes his “fish” shoes. We always went back to her after that to get him his shoes and she always took the tIme and compassion to make it enjoyable. Her patience, care and understanding meant so much to us, and I will never forget her for it.