“It’s not so hard to be kind.
Especially to little boys who roam the afternoon beach in their PJs.
Still, he’s had his fair share of brutal honesty.
Needing to wear a mask to see the pediatrician.
Being chastised for not socially distancing at the pool.
Sorrowful looks for the boy who ‘looks normal,’ but throws sand and steals shovels.
Not today, though.
Today was full of kindness.
While I swam in the ocean with my dad and other three children, I watched his six-year-old self flit and float in the shallows of a tidal pool.
He found a stray boogie board and its young owner smiled as he jumped on and off.
He watched some big kids skim-boarding and though I couldn’t hear their words, I saw the way they leaned down, their hands on their knees, to hear his hard to understand words.
When he grew tired of playing, he found an empty chair below a billowing shade of brilliant blue.
He sat as only he would, the little boy with autism, lifting the heavy chapter book into his lap and slowly turned the pages.
I hustled from the water and went to collect his errant self and apologize.
It’s what I do.
Not because I feel sorry, but because it seems expected in the round world that so often doesn’t understand those with special needs.
The stranger beside him shook her head at me and I quickened my step.
‘Mom, get him!’ my fourteen-year-old chastised me in a loud whisper.
I expected an annoyed stranger who would reprimand me for letting him get near her and sitting in her chair under her umbrella.
I breathed a deep sigh as she mouthed these words.
‘He’s fine,’ she said in a quiet voice.
‘Are you sure?’ I asked.
‘He’s fine,’ she said again.
She greeted me with a happy hello but didn’t rise, so I rejoined the rest of my crew in the warm waters of the Atlantic.
Her acting like it was no big deal filled me with relief.
Rather than me feeling embarrassed because of my so often mislabeled ‘errant’ son, her actions showed me he has a place in this world.
Not a nuisance, but a gift.
I swallowed my tears and noticed how beautiful the sky looked suddenly.
Kindness is magic.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Adrian Wood. You can follow her journey here. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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