Friday, August 17, 2012

A great gesture of love

 I am constantly amazed with the youth in this era. I know that there are still prejudices and misunderstandings, but it seems that there is so much more awareness of kindness toward other youth with disabilities.

When I was a teenager I was nervous around those with special needs, and frankly, didn't know much about it all. Maybe I was sheltered. Maybe I was naive. Maybe (oh heaven forbid I am going to let know how really old I am now) 22 years ago there just wasn't as much advocacy for children with disabilities as there is now. I am pretty sure it is a mixture of all those things, but more of the latter.

There is one young man, in particular, that this post is about and I will call him "MrSuper."

He had invited Brother to celebrate his 13th birthday by going out with him, his mom and a few other friends to get ice cream. I was so impressed that he would want to do this and that he truly thought of Brother as a friend and not just a project. When the time came for them to pick Brother up to go out for ice cream I had neglected, that day, to put out the picture schedule to give him a fair warning that he would be going out of his comfort zone to a gathering at the ice cream shop... so he fell apart. He refused to go. I felt so bad because it really was my fault for not preparing him ahead of time.

The great part about this is that MrSuper was not going to give up on him and waited in the car while I tried to convince Brother to come.

It was still a no-go.

I reluctantly went out to tell MrSuper and his mom that Brother would not be joining them today and thanked them for the invitation. With that, MrSuper's mom offered to bring the party to Brother. She said they would go get the ice cream and bring it to their house where Brother is comfortable (because he has been there a few times to hang out).

I was so impressed by that and got excited assuming that this would totally work for Brother.

30 minutes went by and when they came back to pick Brother up for the second time MrSuper talked to Brother and invited him to come. I was watching through the upstairs window as all this was going on outside. I was hoping that the conversation would go better without me out there to make Brother feel the extra pressure. I watched MrSuper walk away slightly dejected but a smile still on his face. I was so happy that he even tried and tears of joy had already welled up as I walked got up to thank MrSuper for his efforts and to apologize that Brother wasn't joining in... but then MrSuper's mom got out of the car and started to make efforts to encourage Brother to come with them. She was doing everything perfectly, a no pressure approach with lots of love and care and little eye contact. It was awesome. I hadn't even told her to do that, she just did. The tears streamed down my face as I watched her efforts and yet he still declined the offer.

She came to our door with Brother's cup of ice cream and before much could even be said I just cried and hugged her because of how impressed and touched I was by their efforts even though Brother was doing everything he could to shut them down.

I don't know that I would have made that much effort. I would hope I would have, but don't know if I would.

So, the moral of this story is:

You don't always get the happy ending you think you are going to get when you go above and beyond the call of duty, but your efforts are seen by someone watching from an upstairs window and He will see your true gesture of love. Your efforts may seem unrewarded, but they are not unnoticed.

As a side note: I want to tell the youth who attended  the "Junior High Back To School Night" as soon-to-be Peer Tutors in Special Ed and specifically requested to tutor Brother, I cannot explain how much this meant to him and how much easier it will be for him when he starts school next Tuesday.

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