Last summer my daughter Avery and I took a much needed road trip. On our two day excursion to Toronto we walked, talked, laughed and well, I am who I am so needless to say we got lost a lot.
Amidst our sightseeing and sharing of snacks (an allergy family indulgence as not having my son with us meant my daughter could eat whatever she wished) was the most poignant moment I can recall as a mom. For of all the lessons I have shared with my children the one which I hold dearest has been instilling the value found in showing dignity to all persons.
He lay on the sidewalk on the street corner outside our hotel. Having passed him several times that day my heart strings continued to pull stronger especially having noted a walker parked on the sidewalk beside him. Working as a personal support worker with the elderly (nurses aid) the fact he had a mobility aid resonated with me even more so.
That evening I asked my daughter to come with me in taking him some of the dinner we had packed along in our cooler. I introduced myself and after chatting I learned his name was Vincent. My daughter unsure at first stood back and watched, then she came over and shook his hand.
What touched me deeply was to awaken the next morning to my daughter digging again into our cooler asking could she take Vincent breakfast. It was then I knew she understood, that all persons have a story, a value and a name.
I have taught my children that we might not be able to stop for everyone, but we are able to stop for one. And sometimes in life that is all it takes to make a difference you will never be aware of.
Years ago, on the worst day of my life the woman in front of me at a Tim Hortons drive through paid for my coffee. She happened to get out of her car in the same strip mall so I followed, stopped and gave her a hug. I asked why? Her response, she said as she pulled in front of me she I looked at her with such pain in my face, yet I had still smiled at her. I let her know her act of kindness was bigger than she could ever have imagined and that glimmer into kindness and goodness is what would allow me to navigate the rest of that day as well the next.
This journey as a single, mom as well special needs mom to that of author has been one driven by passion as well the ceaseless support of so many. To believe in oneself is the fuel which lights passions way, but to know others believe in you as well the vision you peruse is sincerely humbling.
I have been blessed by the fortune of friendships. For all life has placed upon me I have tried to live by example for my children. I believe that not all that life brings to us happens for a reason, simply put, some things should not be. That said, I am a firm believer that it is in how we choose to move forward from what does happen where what should be will and so much beauty and goodness may be found.
For all those who have embraced me (through many mommy as well Michelle moments) as well my efforts to share awareness, thank you.
Through acts of kindness the gift is not what we give, but in the lessons learned.
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.