The story I write about today has nothing to do with having a disability. It has to do with kindness. A few weeks ago, we were marching with our children in the Opening Day Parade for baseball. Like in most towns, Opening Day for baseball is always a big deal. The season kicks off with all the baseball players gathering at the center of town to march to the baseball field less than a mile away. Leading our parade was a firetruck and the Hershey Kiss Mobile. Once at the field there was even a fly-over by a vintage airplane shooting colored smoke out the back. Like I said, it's a big deal. The streets were lined with people: parents, grandparents and siblings eagerly looking to catch a glimpse of their ball player. Our kids were enjoying marching in the parade and waving at all the people. Liam waved and marched the entire time. It was an exaggerated and clumsy looking march, more like stomping but he was having a great time. Liam waved his arms enthusiastically in the air, smiled ear to ear and enjoyed every moment of the parade. He would yell, "I'm marching (stomp. stomp) I did it! I'm waving mommy!" For the most part, the only people that waved at Liam were the people that recognized him. At one point Liam did say to the people "wave at me." About half way through the parade, with Liam waving and marching up a storm and no one returning the favor I thought. How rude. How can people just look at a kid and not wave back. It had nothing to do with no one seeing him. It had to do with people just not being kind and waving back. Unbelievable.
Last evening, Jacob, Mary and I went to Hersheypark. We would have gone as a family but Liam has too much anxiety about Hersheypark. That is a post for another day. To those of you not familiar with Hersheypark there is a steep hill you have to walk up after entering the gates. It was crowded last night and as we made our way up the hill we came upon an elderly man in a wheelchair, with oxygen in his nose, trying to get himself up the hill. I got behind the man and pushed him the rest of the way up the hill to his wife. The man and his wife were there with their grandson and she was pushing the young boy in a stroller. He thanked me for the help and was on his way. Mary said to me. "Mom, that was nice. He needed help." I was just amazed at all the people that had to have walked by this man, literally walk around him, and had to have seen him struggling to get up the hill and no one helped. Unbelievable.
We were waiting at the top of that same Hersheypark hill for my brother-in-law and his daughter when a family with four young children walked by us. There was a boy about 8 years old holding on to this huge stuffed ladybug. The ladybug was almost the size of the young boy. He struggled to walk with it. He could barely see where he was walking. Jacob's favorite color is red and as they passed us Jacob reached out to hug the stuffed animal. At this point, Jacob is excited about the ladybug and he is hand flapping and growling. It is clear to the parents that Jacob has special needs. They stop a few feet past us and I watched as the dad leans down to talk to the son holding the ladybug. Over the next 30 seconds there is a tug of war over the ladybug, the dad keeps talking to the boy and the boy starts to cry shaking his head "no." I KNOW that the dad is telling the boy to give his ladybug to Jacob. I walked over to the family and thanked them for being so nice but that we couldn't take the ladybug. Unbelievable.
There are some unbelievably kind and some unbelievably unkind people in this world. In a 15 minute time frame last night we got to experience both.
An update, in pictures…
2 days ago