This year, as always, I am grateful for the big things like the fact that I have a home, food, and clean water. I am grateful for my family and my friends.
And I am grateful for the little things, like chocolate, wine, sushi, and books.
I write this the day before I hit “publish” because I had a different post planned for Thanksgiving. Something like the Yam Sham I wrote last year.
I have to post this instead.
I want to thank:
- the woman who didn’t glare at my son when her daughter was being loud and my son cringed and covered his ears because he can’t stand loud noises
- the hairdresser who didn’t become irritated with my son for crying because he was uncomfortable in the chair and afraid she would cut him
- the hairdresser who didn’t embarrass my (other) son for not recognizing her because he has trouble remembering faces
- the waitress who didn’t scoff when my son got upset about his burger arriving with a bun because he can’t eat burgers that way (she got him extra fries after taking the bun away)
- the child at the playground who didn’t laugh at my son when he was stuck at the top of the slide because he was scared but couldn’t figure out how to climb down the ladder
- the woman at the grocery store who noticed my son’s shifting and fidgeting and flapping and didn’t hesitate before complimenting his patience during the long wait because it’s impossible for him to stand still
- the man in line at the post office who didn’t ignore my children when one son spelled “antidisestablishmentarianism” and started chatting about atoms and quarks while my other son gave him a detailed weather forecast for the next ten days
- the dental hygienist who didn’t scowl at my son when he broke down because she was new and he didn’t know her
- the woman in the waiting room who didn’t roll her eyes when she asked my son what grade he was in and he answered that he was in 2nd but taking an accelerated 5th grade math class at Stanford University because he doesn’t understand that many people think he is bragging or lying
- the group of boys who played with my son and didn’t mock him for flapping his hands because he was excited
- the man at Starbucks who didn’t make a big deal that my son’s birthday cookie coupon had expired because my son needed that cookie to be a “special” cookie
Strangers. I am thankful for the kindness of strangers. People who have no knowledge of who my children are or what struggles they face. This is how the world should be. And, occasionally, this is how the world is.
I am grateful.
I don’t often say this, but when it comes down to what my world is, it is this:
This is my world. And if I can believe, even for a day, that the outside world might be kinder, more compassionate, better than I think it is, I will be happy. Because I will know that my two boys might live in a place that will not crush them.
Even as I work to prepare them and help them become stronger, I am terrified of letting them go into this world. I hope that my two boys might live in a place that will show them the kindness that they show others.
These strangers have given me hope. I am grateful.