Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pay it please-pull-forward

Spreading kindness and good cheer is always important, but somehow at this time of year, it seems especially so.   The reality of life with a child with special needs, though, with its limited finances, limited time, and abundance of behavioral challenges that can make public excursions and in-house projects hard to manage, can make it challenging to find ways to reach out and spread the joy I truly want to share.

This week, my friend Bella told me a great story about a simple way to spread a little cheer.  She was on her way to work, and stopped, as she always does, at the Starbucks drive-through window to get her morning cup of coffee.  As she pulled up, money in hand, the cashier said, "Oh, the car in front of you took care of your bill."

Bella was baffled.  "They did?" she asked.

"They said to tell you 'happy holidays,'" the cashier said.  Then she looked at the confusion on Bella's face and said, "You mean you don't know them?"

Bella confirmed that she didn't, and she and the cashier laughed - both of their days made brighter by this simple act of kindness.

"Well," Bella said, "it's simple then.  I'm paying for the car behind me.  And please tell them I said 'happy holidays.'"

And she did.  For all we know, the chain continued all day.

That's a kindness I can extend.  More importantly, it's a reaching-out activity in which I can involve my son, while keeping him in his own predictable and familiar environment.  Together, we can brighten a stranger's day, without the risk of plunging him into dysregulation.

Today, Bud and I are buying a Christmas tree.  Tomorrow, we're buying some coffee.

MOM-NOS writes about life with her son Bud, who has autism, at Mom - Not Otherwise Specified.  She sincerely hopes that you will be in the car behind her.

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