Climbing Mountains Thanks to the Kindness of Strangers
It isn’t always easy to be the parent of a child with a disability and it’s all too easy to see the downside. But one thing that makes it easier for me is to make a point of noticing the positive things, the gifts of kindness, the little nuggets of goodness that come our way. This Christmas, we were lucky enough to spend Christmas on a cruise with my parents and my brother’s family. It was an incredible experience and so much fun for my kiddos to spend the holiday with their grandparents, aunt and uncle, and cousins. On the ship, there was a climbing wall, and Olivia was very excited about the possibility of conquering that “mountain.” I have so much admiration for Olivia’s can-do attitude and I am so grateful that she never shies away from a challenge. However, there is always that protective part of me that watches her with a mixture of fear that the obstacle will be too much and hope that it isn’t. So, as I watched Olivia struggle to climb that wall, I could not have been more touched by the reaction of the young man who was the belayer. Without a word from anyone, he began to coach Olivia up the wall. He was incredibly patient, even when it seemed we were taking waaaaay more than our fair share of time. He refused to let her quit (even when she said she was tired!) and seemed to just inherently know that she needed to make it to the top. Finally, with help from him, and a little boost from another belayer, Olivia rang the bell at the top of the wall. People we didn’t even know were watching cheered along with us. It was one of those moments when I was SO grateful for the kindness of others…unasked for and given from the heart. Lucky us to have that experience! And may you be just as fortunate.