Tuesday, August 06, 2013

People Who Shine

For various reasons, I have been reflecting on a line from one of my favourite movies:

"Character is what you are in the dark."
Buckaroo Banzai rocks, just saying.

Yes, things are dark. And then there are people who come across our dark patches, and shine. They can mean so much by just being who they are.

We were so lucky to have met with one for James' second aide last school year. She wrote simple affirmations for him that made all the difference. Really, the words written on a 3x5 card that read "I am smart" and "I can do this" made a blazingly positive change for the better for him in school, and encouraged me to change direction myself.

The man at the craft and hobby hall at the county fair, who made a decision to being his miniature train park project to the public and spend all afternoon at the table so he could share his excitement with others, and make the time to ask kids to take a look. He then encouraged them to share what they thought and he *listened.* It's rather rare for someone to give others the time and space to form original thoughts and then receiving their perspectives with relaxed and obvious delight.

Tonight, another person shone brightly for us -- the woman who cuts our hair. It's a bit of a drive to get to her workplace, so I don't see her often. She does a fabulous job with cutting my daughter's long hair and giving me a clean, yet sassy, look. Always friendly and encouraging, we love to visit with her. For a few months, I'd been thinking she'd be the perfect person to give James his first non-mom hair cut. She works with horses, has children of her own, and James has been on hand a few times while we had our hair done.

James is also going through a phase of imitating his older sister, so I figured that might further help him get his first hair cut from a professional. I called and discussed it with her, outlining his sensitivities and reactions and asking if she'd be willing to try giving an autistic 8 year-old his first haircut in a shop. Bless her, she said yes. And not only that, she was upbeat about it.

But she did not just cut his hair - oh no. She asked his permission to cut his hair first, and told him it would make her happy if he let her try. She talked gently and coaxingly through the swift cut, and he never once shrieked or twisted, although he did flinch. When he became apprehensive, she let him touch and hold the scissors or comb so he could get used to it. After, she thanked him and told him how handsome he looked. James grew an inch taller at that, I tell you.

Best part for James? She played hide-and-go-seek with him all the time my hair colour was setting. Right there in the salon! Luckily, it was after regular hours. While she was cutting my hair, James and his sister took turns playing the game in the many rooms and hallways. Then it got quiet, so we sought the kids out. They were in a massage room, playing. Both kids got suckers and on the ride home I played the car CD, which was Christmas instrumentals. They were very happy and have already asked how soon could we go back.

I can never thank people like her enough. They pick me up and keep me going. And I am so grateful for the reminder of light in the dark.

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