“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato

“Be kind.”  It’s one of my mama mottos.  The rest of the quote, “for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” was as true 2,000-plus years ago, as it is today.  The thing is — some people wear their battles, unable to hide hurt or sickness, while others are unraveling silently on the inside. 

I have battles – some pretty big ones these days.  That said, I consider myself damn lucky for one simple reason – my kids are healthy.  Everything else is doable.  However, so many of our family friends are battling their child’s incurable disorder – autism.  Last night, my hubby and I watched our friends’ kids, including their 6YO son, who has autism.

Easy – it wasn’t.  Their autistic son is a handful and growing more physical each day.  He’s also unpredictable, which makes me nervous since I’m not able to anticipate his needs or reaction or mood.  And, I’m not sure what my reaction should be either.  I stand firm on no spitting or hitting.  But, beyond saying “no” and redirecting, I’m more likely to remove my kids from the scene than him.

Then, there were unexpected moments of affection.  When I would walk away, he’d come find me and wrap his arms around my waist or reach out to hold my hand.  I felt so honored to be embraced.  We even enjoyed three bedtime stories.  He was engrossed in his nighttime bottle and never once interrupted with a question about the story.  It was so different from our bedtime routine, where I have to tell my 5YO to save her questions/comments until the end, otherwise, we’ll never get through the story. 

As we were driving home, my hubby said to me, “Man, I wish I could just get inside his head.”   I know his mama thinks that every moment of everyday.   We’ve tried hard over the last 10 years to learn about autism.  I ask my girlfriends lots of questions.  No doubt, I have unknowingly said something wrong or insensitive, which is why I am especially thankful for a story called Cowboy & Wills.   It is a remarkable and uncensored story of one mother’s battle against autism.  

Monica Holloway’s journey as a mother is every bit as poignant as Wills’.  While the story focuses on how a puppy named Cowboy helps Wills “step a little farther into the world,” I was drawn to Monica.  Cowboy, the puppy, may have seemingly helped Wills to make friends and succeed in school, it was his mom (it will always be his mom and dad), who are truly the heroes whether they win the battle or not.

This post was inspired by the From Left to Write September book club featuring Cowboy & Wills by Monica Holloway.  In full disclosure, I received a free copy of this book.  Don’t forget the box o’ kleenex!

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3 Responses to ““Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato”

  1. Cowboy & Wills by Monica Holloway – A From Left to Write Book Club | Says:

    […] Michele Spring Fajeau from Read Out Loud describes her mama motto “Be kind” […]

  2. kroliklinsey Says:

    I love this post (and loved the book Cowboy & Wills too). I’m in total agreement that parents like Monica Holloway are true heroes for their kids. Wow.

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    I loved Monica’s book. I’m new to your blog and find it amazing that I just posted the same Plato quote on my own blog just the other day. Because my blog often gets a bit controversial, I needed to remind myself and others of those wise words! I look forward to visiting more —

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