'Reading an article this morning caused me pause to smile, as well reflect. The actions of James Williams displayed not only a sincere compassion and understanding but as well the awareness of something in which I hold a firm belief, 'life happens outside the lines'!!!
James 'the hairdresser' got me thinking back to my son's Junior Kindergarten year which was as exhausting as exciting. With six anaphylactic food allergies as well a severe language delay (Nolan did not speak nor hear until surgery at 2 1/2) my son's first school year was inclusive of mommy moments (ok totally honest mommy meltdowns) as well monumentous milestones (ie. the first day EVER he spoke out loud at school --3 months into the school year!!).
Come June my excitement having successfully and safely surpassed J.K. (equally as student and allergy mom) I attended my son's school activity day. Although I arrived prepared for crafts and crayons I instead found myself reeling by another mom's remarks. Having bitten my tongue for a good part of the day what finally unbound my bark was this. Our final 'station' was the colouring table, with my eyes rolling in my head I listened as she critiqued her children's attempts at art. But what untied my tongue was when she looked over and snapped did I not think I should teach my son to colour within the lines.
Unleashed in that moment was a motto of life lesson I now share.... my response, I smiled and stated simply no I did not, as well, 'life happens outside the lines'!!!
For all my son's struggles, for the many challenges I face daily navigating life as a special needs mom, I am so very grateful. For from this life I have learned there is so much beauty to be found in viewing life from outside 'the lines'.
To James the hairdresser thank you!!! By getting on the floor you not only ensured this young boy with autism left with a hair cut, but you gave to his parents the gift of knowing others care, are compassionate, and that we need not conform to cookie cutter rules ...as there is much to celebrate in living life outside the lines.
Michelle began writing in hopes of providing a fun yet informative manner in which to share allergy information. Her son Nolan since infancy has had eczema, asthma, multiple anaphylactic food allergies as well as multiple environmental allergies. Michelle's son also has autism, ADHD and a severe language delay. Michelle sees not disabilities but celebrates different abilities and sees the beauty found in thinking outside the box!
Jennifer Terry is a graphic designer/illustrator living in Denver, Colorado, USA. Her daughter, Lauren, is a middle school student, active in musical theatre, who also happens to have anaphylactic food allergies.
Inspired by Lauren Jennifer shares her whimsical art on the pages of these books, in an effort to help make learning about food allergies fun for children, parents, teachers and caregivers.