A warm and ordinary day, the sun rays were shining through the skyscrapers of the city when I was taken aback with an array of emotions as I heard Maria read out the last line, “Happy and strong now I thank God for gifting Susan to me. I must be special to Him for He thought me to be the right one to take care of her.” I was interrupted by the huge round of applause coming from all directions. I could see everyone’s eyes lit up and heads peeping from every cubicle. Maria, a tall sharp lady of 33, is an office colleague of mine who kept everyone wondering as she read out her entire speech.
On finishing her speech, Maria gave a smile and sat on the chair. Taking off her specs, she sipped her coffee, “You are a super mom Maria” I said. “No, I am a super lucky mom,” she replied. Maria’s three year old daughter, Susan, is an autistic child. On this ‘World Autism Awareness Day’ she is going to discuss and read out the same speech to all the parents with autistic children at a motivational center in her neighborhood. If the autistic child is not ready to give up then who are we to feel bad about it? That’s how Maria encouraged herself.
At lunch Donna and I had gone to this new pizzeria. “Bob, I was thinking if we could fix on a date with Maria and go and meet Susan at her place,” she suggested. It seemed a happy idea and I too wanted to meet Susan. We both decided on buying some toys and skill sets for her.
Maria’s story reverberated in my mind while I was taking a long walk with Aaliyah at the Central Park letting the evening breeze touch my face and settle a sense of calm in me. Startled to see her perspective, I shared Maria’s story with Aaliyah. “You know Bob; we never realize how capable we are till we are thrown at an unprepared situation,” she replied. We both couldn’t help but feel extremely proud of Maria.
The initial breakdown while battling a tough situation is common. Embracing an unusually painful situation feels tremendously hard but choosing to help ourselves instead of getting engrossed in self-pity always helps. Fear and pity should transform to acceptance and support paving the way for empowerment. It’s a great contentment when you see someone trying to take an initiative to help others out. It’s time to stay strong and motivated to fight each other’s problems together!
Let us help in creating awareness and strengthening the network to reach out as much as possible.