My muse has been silent for a while, perhaps temporarily silenced by the pandemic. This does not mean that good things have not been happening, they have, one just needs to know where to look. In no particular order, here are some good things: an 18th birthday and a drive by parade, jokes of the day, and angels in disguise at the optical shop.
Let’s start from the top. Alissa has an awesome younger brother, Drew, who is also on the spectrum. Last Saturday he turned 18. Normally, this is an event which should be celebrated with all the bells and whistles, but we are in a pandemic. Thinking fast, Alissa called all her friends, Drew’s friends, and family members. We spent a feverish night making signs and planning. At the appointed hour on Saturday we arrived at a pizza joint near Drew’s house to assemble. John, soon to be Drew’s step father, led off with a team of 7 friends on motorcycles. He was followed by a caravan of cars full of adoring fans, dogs, and squirming children. In stately formation we filed down the block and past Drew’s townhouse where he was sitting on the balcony. We honked, yelled Happy Birthday, and waved our signs. Dogs barked madly, motorcycles revved and it was quite the little scene. Drew was wearing an ear to ear grin. Alissa stayed behind to socialize at an appropriate distance while the rest of us went on with our day. This was the first good thing.
Another good thing is our neighbor on Summit Ave. He/she puts out a joke of the day on his/her sidewalk . Some of them are groaners and some are really funny, but everyday neighbors stream by the house at appropriate distances to get a chuckle. This same person, or maybe another neighbor puts up motivational signs in the greenway for pedestrians to see. I usually take pictures of these signs, they change from day to day, and then send them to friends.
The last good thing of this essay involves an angel in disguise at the Target Optical Shop. Last Sunday night Boo had a series of bad seizures and projectile vomiting. It was probably one of the scariest nights of my life. Somehow, in all the fracas, the glasses got smashed and then put through the washer and dryer with some soiled linen. I found the once proud glasses, in three pieces, in my dryer the next morning. Without his glasses, Boo is virtually blind. I gathered up the sad remains of the glasses and took them and Boo to the glasses shop. When we got there, the gate was down but the lights were still on. The sign said that due to their temporary hours they were only open until 1:00 pm. The clock said it was 1:03. I sighed. Suddenly a voice from the back of the store asked if she could help me. A small, smartly dressed woman appeared and asked what she could do for us. I held out the sad remains of the glasses and told her what had happened. She took them and told me to go shopping and come back in ten minutes. She was incredibly gracious. Boo and I went in search of treats and came back in the allotted time. She ducked under the gate and came out to see us. She said that she was giving us new frames as the old ones were past repairing. She refused to take any money from me. She fitted the glasses to Boo’s head and send us on our way with a gentle smile. Sweet lady, I did not catch your name, but thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you from Boo, too, who can now see where he is going. I am now firmly convinced that at least this particular optical shop has its own angel. On the way out of the store we bumped into a former aide from Bridge View School who made a big fuss out over Boo. Since he had his glasses on he could see her and responded in kind.
So, this is a list of some good things during a really scary time. I have been trying to keep a list of good things and beautiful people that I have met in my journal. Mr. Rogers said that when scary things happen look for the helpers. I have seen these helpers and they are amazing. They are a caring big sister who made a parade for her brother’s 18th birthday. They are the neighbors that put out corny jokes, inspirational signs and free food, seeds, and books. They are the angels in optical shops who help distraught moms who just want their child to be able to see again. In a scary time I can still see things of beauty. I hope that you can, too. Keep the faith, keep safe, and we will see you on the other side.