We do our best to keep Tristan engaged in life. One activity we enjoy is taking him to “Arts in the Park,” a free weekly outdoor concert. He loves music. We love going somewhere. So it is a win-win family activity.
I know we kind of stick out when we are in public! We are Caucasian parents with an Ethiopian child. A child with a disability. His mannerisms are like a two-year old in a twelve year old body. Most of the time it does not bother me. Most of the time people do not say anything. Except this night… a sweet lady sitting behind us leaned over to talk to me. She said, “Excuse me. I just want to talk to you for a minute, before it rains.” I replied, “Sure.” She said, “Does your boy have autism?” I answered, “Yes he does.” She continued, “I thought so because he was holding his ears. Anyways treat him well, which I can see you are. You know he is spiritually perfect.” I smiled and said, “Yes he is. Thank you.” I often do not approach other special need families in public. I am always nervous I will say the wrong thing! I am grateful that other people have the confidence and tack that do reach out. No one gets tired of hearing encouragement. As we were enjoying the night, I looked around the audience and saw a young man, Gary, who lived across the street from us about ten years ago. I have thought about him over the years. Where is he now? How is he doing? He was a special needs boy. I only heard him say the word “Yes.” He would run across the street and give us hugs! After we moved away, I ran into his family around town. His grandmother shared he had autism. At that time I didn’t know anything about that subject! I would not have guessed that was Gary’s disability. Tristan was not part of our life, therefore I didn’t really know what that meant. Looking back, I wish I could have supported this family. Looking across the audience, I wanted to say “hi” to Gary. I thought to myself, “What if he doesn’t remember me?” I also thought, “Tristan gets so excited when he sees people from his past.” I wasn’t even sure who Gary was sitting with. I decided to take a chance. I walked over and spoke a few words. He replied, “Yes,” to my questions and gave me a hug! He seemed to remember me. The conversation was fast. I was happy to see Gary.
Yes two sweet surprises on a beautiful night! Enjoy another priceless moment from our home.