Autism · Cricut · life

Why Kindness *Still* Matters

Let’s face it, it’s been a pretty rough year for a lot of people. The news alone can cause even the most optimistic person reason to lose hope. And, unfortunately, all the online back biting and label throwing has truly interfered with daily life. It’s made me pretty grumpy a few more times than I’d care to admit, which has forced me to think about the true nature of people.

However, recently I’ve had a few experiences that have reassured me that kindness–once very commonplace in workaday life–still exists and, more importantly, still matters to us all.

Yesterday I went to see my old friend and amazing chiropractor, Dr. Scott Kline, from Back on Track Chiropractic. My neck and lower back have been zapping me of energy for a while now and regular visits to his clinic really have been helping me get around much easier.

Dr. Kline’s office is fairly open and you often interact with other patients during your visit. When my son MO and I arrived, we couldn’t help but notice the extra large flatbed truck in the parking lot and said “hello” to the truck owner when we got inside. A few minutes later, Dr. K asked me–sort of out of the blue–if I had ever taught at one of the local schools and I replied that I had been a “para” at the high school a while back, but for a short time.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, the truck driving young man was a former student of mine–with a very good memory–and came over to chat with me. I was SO happy to hear my help with Algebra actually helped him in his daily life and that he had remembered me for the kindness I showed him in the special ed classroom. I was even happier to know that a once somewhat troubled kid had built a wonderful life, complete with a talented and darling fiancé, in spite of some educational setbacks.

It was a true “A HA!” moment for me, helping me to understand that even the smallest actions can have a big impact on someone else.

After the young couple left, Dr. Kline–being the terrific guy he is–took some time to interact with MO, telling him a few jokes and asking him questions. This is his usually modus operandi (M.O.!) so I just listened to the conversation. But then I was nearly floored when Dr. K surprised MO with a wonderful gift of an inversion table!

Now…Dr. K said the gift was because I had been so helpful to Debbie with her new Cricut Maker, but I knew better. Dr. Kline is just a REALLY nice guy! He has a heart of gold and he knows MO struggles a bit without having good male role models around. This unexpected gift was an investment in my son. A “kindness seed” if you will.

Needless to say, MO and I were both tickled PINK at his gift! But beyond that, I truly felt the love of another person reaching out to a young boy–who has had his share of troubles–for no other reason but to sow a seed of kindness that will hopefully grow and bear fruit in the future.

As MO and I sat in the car–inversion table carefully stowed between us–we marveled at the extraordinary gift we had just received. MO exclaimed with great enthusiasm “I am SO HAPPY!”

And the beautiful thing was, I know he was. I really know he was!

And so I see–from a chance encounter with a former student and an unexpected gift from a good doctor–how kindness can and does matter. In spite of all the chaos in the world…in spite of the anger and vitriol coming across from everywhere…kindness can make a huge difference in our lives and the lives of others.

I’ve got a renewed interest in spreading love and care to my little corner of the world, and I hope–after reading this–you might feel the same. Won’t you join me in this important and life changing crusade? Won’t you reaffirm your pledge that “Kindness Matters” in your life and the lives of others?

And, one last note, if you are local to me (North Shore area of Boston) and need a little help with some back, hip, neck or knee pain, please consider making an appointment with my friend, Dr. Scott Kline at Back on Track Chiropractic in Peabody.

While I can’t promise gifts, I can tell you you will receive the most caring treatment around!

Autism

Coming Around Again

I’m pretty new to this blog, so I must admit I was feeling a bit sheepish about my last post.  I didn’t want to be whiney, because no one likes complainers…but, then again, I had to get it out or I felt like I was going to have a major meltdown.

So coming back here to write took me a little time, because I wanted to be more upbeat and I wasn’t feeling it until about 20 minutes ago.  Let me explain.

After my rant on Thursday I did feel better, but there were still some things that hadn’t been resolved.  My son, Master Owen, and I were not seeing eye to eye on what to do with his angry feelings and our resident Soldier (with PTSD) wasn’t helping the situation either.  I had been trying to explain to MO about how feelings–such as anger–are important to recognize and work through, but that everyone has to find positive ways of acknowledging and expressing them.

Master Owen–a growing boy (he turns 10 in a few weeks) and also on the Spectrum–has trouble with all emotions, but in particular he struggles with angry feelings.  Lately he has been getting angry a lot.  Although I encourage him to talk about it, frankly his level of anger scares me sometimes.  Instead of being a “little irritated”, he seems to jump straight to full out rage mode.  I’m a very quiet person, who mostly has pretty happy thoughts, so angry outbursts are upsetting to me.  Although I try to divert him, I’m not always successful in defusing MO’s anger.

In the last couple of months I have noticed MO begin to hit things as a way to work through his feelings.  Unfortunately hitting things (not animals or people) isn’t always safe or free from damage.  Sure, hitting a pillow is fine, but MO has opted for a little more destructive means.  Last month it was a part of the decrepit picket fence that he destroyed.  A few months ago he dug a very deep hole behind the garage without telling anyone, which can be dangerous in thickly settled neighborhoods such as ours.  These are just a few examples of many.   And–while I am thankful he hasn’t acted out toward people or animals–I have always had that notion he could somehow spin out of control and become some crazy kid beyond my help.

This morning, at MO’s appointment with his developmental psychiatrist, I brought all of the issues about MO’s growing feelings about school, not seeing his father, kids who made him mad on the bus, and a bunch of other situations up.  I was happy that the doctor assured me I wasn’t raising a sociopath, but a “normal growing boy”.  I will also admit I felt a wee bit vindicated that he confirmed what I have been saying for months: even if another child hit him, MO should never hit back in “self defense”, but should seek out an adult in charge to handle the problem.  This did NOT make MO very happy…and, I suspect, it will make his father AND our resident Soldier just as unhappy.

So, as we traveled back from the clinic, I drove rather silently wondering what I should do.  To be honest, I didn’t feel that much better, because I didn’t have a solution to the problem.  So I said a little prayer asking for some help…just a little more insight or a possible solution.  (Now–for those who are just getting to know me–please don’t take me as one of those Bible thumpers that praises God for every open parking space or something; I do pray and I am a believer in the power of prayer, but I’m not pushy about it either.)

We drove nearly 45 minutes home and nothing happened, but as I took the turn up my street you could have blown me over with a feather with what I saw!  My neighbor at the bottom of the street had put out a nearly new professional punching bag set on the curb with a $50 price tag!  It was perfect!  Without being overly overjoyed so I could maintain a modicum of coolness, I asked MO what he thought.  He gave it careful consideration–as he always does–and replied:  “Yes.  I think I would like that very much.”

In a heartbeat, I turned around and went out to talk to the seller and, before we knew it, MO was the proud owner of a brand new punching bag with a full hanging contraption AND a pair of professional boxing gloves, too.  When I told the wife how it was a little answered prayer, I found out she is a AND the mother of three boys and completely agreed it would be an excellent option for young MO!

I also procured a 42″ 8 hp snowblower in awesome condition for next to nothing, because–yeah–we live just north of Boston and everyone’s is talking about how this year will be as bad as last year…which was pretty bad.

Isn’t it amazing how these things work out?

All the best–Ritamarie

P.S. So, hey, if you have any experience with anything I’ve written or just a little advice…or you just want to talk about the snow, I’d love to hear about it.   And, as always, thanks for listening.