An Open Letter to the Man in Grocery Store

Yesterday was tough day.

It’s the day the every special needs parent dreads in the pit of their being and desperately hopes they never experience. In a world thats come so far in terms of tolerance and acceptance, I had almost begun to believe the comforting naivetés like “people know better now” and “no one thinks that way anymore.”

Yesterday it all came tumbling down and reality came crashing through again.

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While exiting the grocery store my boys and I crossed paths with you when you entered to do your shopping. You were wearing your camouflage jacket, proudly displaying patches identifying yourself as a veteran, the very sort of hero that Aidan has begun to emulate all around the backyard on his various “missions.” You made eye contact with Aidan, who was walking in front of my cart happily babbling on about new shoes he had picked out and how the springs in the heels just might even help him jump over a building if he practiced enough. Now Aidan typically responds to direct eye contact from strangers in one of two ways: he is either resistant and defensive, sometimes even verbally demanding that patrons stop looking at him, otherwise he responds quite to the other extreme and establishes an immediate relationship with the person in his head and desperately tries to connect and interact. In this particular occasion, he fell into column B. When asking Aidan about the incident, he told me he wanted to “play soldier with the solider.” This played out in the form of jumping in place into a playful stance of what can only be described as “put em up tiger,” and an accompanying “grrrrrrrr” for good measure.

Now I want to be perfectly clear about something: I don’t for two seconds believe that simply because my child is on the spectrum, that he is entitled to behave any way he pleases in public. For every measure of grace we give, there is an equal measure of teaching and guidance. And ultimately as a parent of ANY child, isn’t that all we can do? It’s entirely unreasonable to assume that any amount of good parenting could keep our children from ever acting out in public. No a good parent is simply one who uses each opportunity as a teaching experiences and is consistent in guiding their children to better choices.

1488186_10152498341399818_7654703513818516301_nYou looked at my son menacingly, then mumbled something at me under your breath while shaking your head in disapproval. “Im sorry,” I tried to say politely with a meager smile, “my son is on the spectrum.” I wasn’t planning to stop there, leaving my statement to waft around as some sort of free pass to continue on with our day. In fact I was angling myself to come down to my sons eye level and ask him to offer you not only an apology, but the greeting he has been well taught to offer any in uniform – “thank you for your service.” But before I could speak another word you stepped in gruffly. “Heh, that’s one thing you could call it.” Your words were seething with disapproval, broadcasting your judgment of my apparent lack of parenting skills and my inability to control my children.

I admit it, I was defensive at this point, seeing my sons face flashing with confusion and anxiety, desperately looking for cues from me on how to interpret a social situation that was simply too complex for his special brain to understand. My tone was less than polite at this point as I snapped back, “Excuse me? Do you even understand what it means to be on the autism spectrum?” I know, I could have shown more grace. I could have kept my patience. Maybe you were having a horrible day. Maybe you struggle with your own special challenges. I could have been kinder, but my words were sharp and pointed.

It was at this point you began to yell, each phrase bringing with it a wave of hot salty tears, each wave tossing me turbulently until I simply couldn’t tell which way was up and it was if my whole being shut down, lifelessly limp in the current.  “Of course I know what autism means!But then you should know better than to bring him into stores! It’s your own damn fault for subjecting the people to him! Next time keep the freak at home.

Did you see my son? Did you see when those final words left your mouth and that last syllable washed over his ears and into his tiny little heart? Did you notice him, rocking by the cart, hitting himself over and over repeating “Im not special. Im dumb. Im not special. Im dumb.” Did you even see? Because in that moment, my heart shattered into a million tiny pieces and I simply didn’t have the presence of mind to both minister to my wounded child and simultaneously find words to adequately respond. So I dropped to the floor to bear hug my son and attempt to soothe his restless stimming. You apparently interpreted this as some sort of check in the win column – proof I was the overindulgent parent endlessly catering to the child who wasn’t worthy of participation in mainstream society. You seemed to mentally pat yourself on the back with a little indignant hmph as you turned around and walked away, successfully putting us in our place and winning this battle against these clueless modern parents and their entitled spawn. And as quickly as you had crossed our path, you were gone, disappearing into the jars of pickles and rows of breakfast cereals, probably never to give us another thought.

In hardly more than a moment, you claimed to have examined all of my son and declared him unworthy – unfit for general consumption. You saw all you had needed to see, and you indignantly labeled him as too flawed to be worthy of redemption. You saw only a plague on the upstanding members of this fair society who know how to color properly within the lines, follow instructions, and wait patiently in lines with the others. You decided you knew my son, and you knew his apparent defects clearly outweighed his usefulness, and he belonged out of sight and out of mind where he wouldn’t be a burden on hardworking citizens like yourself.

But sir, you don’t know.

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You don’t know that Aidan has the most incredible mind for science. You don’t know that he spends hours exploring ideas like inertia and velocity and how colors are created in the spectrum of light. You don’t know that Aidan passionately poured over books and charts on chemistry for weeks, and ultimately committed most all of the table of elements to perfect memory. You don’t know that he draws charts of the order of the planets, identifies dinosaurs by enormous scientific names, and catalogs nature items in test tubes and jars for future study under his prized microscope.

You don’t know that Aidan has a grasp on logic and engineering that would make even the most adept builders and programmers sit up and take notice. You don’t know that he has already outgrown building legos with the instruction booklets and creates some of the most detailed and perfectly balanced structures and vehicles with whatever pieces he can find on hand. You don’t know that he has already mastered most of the basic concepts of computer programming logic and is hoping to start learning his first programming language this year. You don’t know that Aidan grasps complex math concepts like percentages and fractions and can explain them in ways that even some of his 5 year old peers could start to understand them.

10320379_10152178964994818_3365314110460915101_nYou don’t know that Aidan is one of the coolest 5 year olds on the planet. He has a passionate love for classic rock, placing the anthologies of the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and the Who as some of his most prized playlist possessions. And don’t even get me started on his love for Queen. You don’t know he has an incredible sense of fashion, boasting quite the collection of vintage styled band tees and skinny jeans, and nobody rocks a beanie or a bowtie like this kid does. You don’t know that he used to idolize our old worship pastor, spending countless afternoons strumming on his guitar trying to be just like Mr. Robb someday. You don’t know that he mastered the art of comedic timing and a quick wit, keeping even the most celebrated minds on their toes with the quips this kid comes up with sometimes.

You don’t know that Aidan has the most compassionate heart of any 5 year old I’ve ever known. You don’t know that he sponsors a child in Uganda, ran his own snack stand at our garage sale last summer giving every cent he made to funding education for kids in Kenya, and that he worries deeply about the homeless and the poor. You don’t know that although Aidan often struggles to correctly interpret what others are feeling without more obvious clues, that the moment he senses someone is feeling hurt or lonely or upset? Aidan’s the first kid to run over and ask if they are ok or if there is something he can do. You don’t know that he’s still just a great big teddy bear, not afraid to spend a whole TV show cuddling his baby brother on the couch or offer his mama unsolicited kisses and I love you’s, even in front of his peers.

10517974_10152350869364818_6568712365504512355_nYou don’t know that Aidan’s love for others is limitless and his propensity for offering forgiveness knows no bounds. You don’t know that when I had the worst day in my parenting life and screamed horribly at my son casting in him his room telling him I couldn’t stand to be around him, that when I went to apologize to him later he looked up from his book before I could say a word and said calmly and sweetly “I forgive you mommy, and Im so sorry I called you a jerk when you were being mad.” You don’t know that even though my sweet boy is still deeply wounded by the horrible words you said, that at bedtime prayers last night he chose to pray for YOU, sir. You don’t know he offered up a sweet sincere prayer that God would give the army man a good day tomorrow, and that he could have Jesus in his heart. You don’t know that my 5 year old son with all his challenges and struggles was hero enough to forgive YOU, a man that should have been his hero but instead broke his tiny heart to pieces.

You don’t know my son. You don’t know what the world would be missing if I didn’t choose to keep subjecting people to him as you put it. I have spent all year teaching my son the truth he is valiantly trying to cling to today: that He is made in God’s perfect image. We have taught our son that our big perfect God is simply so giant, so complex, and so beautifully multifaceted, that it takes a picture of each and every man woman and child on this earth to begin to see a reflection of His perfect being. That being made in His image means that without Aidan, we would miss some facet of Gods character, some immutable truth about His being, that somehow Aidan in his beautiful uniqueness has been chosen to perfectly showcase to us all. Aidan has a responsibility to keep being the amazing little guy God created Him to be, and it’s heart wrenching to me that someone like you would miss out on such beautiful truths and the absolute joy he brings every soul that really takes the time to get to know him.

You’ve probably forgotten about us sir, and there’s a good chance you will never see this letter. But we wont soon be able to forget you or your jaded words. I can only pray that God’s grace abounds and that Aidan be reminded how incredibly special and incredible he really is. And judging by his bold choice to pray for you last night, I am encouraged that God is holding my sweet boy safely in the shelter of his arms, and that somehow He will bring him through this stronger and better for it. We will keep reminding him of who he is, and try daily to undo the damage of your careless words. I pray that God will bring people to surround my sweet son and see him for the beautiful hero he is, facing the world each day with such determination in the face of his challenges and such a joy for each day he’s been given. And most of all I pray that your heart be softened, and that you never again have cause to tear down a child the way you did in that store. I’m hoping I can follow my sons incredible example and find forgiveness for you in my heart enough to wish you well, but I admit he is so much stronger and more compassionate than I am right now. If only we could all be a little bit more like Aidan. I hope someday my son is able to see himself for the truly incredible person he really is.

UPDATE: Want to help outweigh some of the nastiness Aidan is dealing with by participating in a good old fashioned viral campaign for good? Check out this post to see how you can participate in Project Aidan and help this little guy get a taste of just how special he really is.

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Comments

  1. says

    oh, this absolutely broke my heart! your son is such a beautiful child and i love your mommy heart with this. you spoke out against this with grace and yet, you fiercely spoke the truth. this is beautiful and it is something i needed to be reminded of in my own heart.

    • Suzy says

      Aidan,
      You are my hero! I want to grow up to be like you and I am sixty years old! Thank you for being so brave and strong and kind! You have shown me the heart of Jesus!
      God bless you!

  2. Charlene says

    Hi there :) I just came across your post on Pursuit 3…I can not believe (of course I believe you) that this happened…I am so sorry you and your son had to be subject to someone so ignorant…I wish that there was someone who stepped in…to help both of you! Your son seems like a beautiful soul…keep up the great work mama, if you educate one person from this post you and Aiden made a difference and made the world a better place! ~Hugs~

  3. says

    Oh…my…gosh! How heartbreaking! I am so so sorry for this. Your momma heart must still be aching. Your precious son sounds wonderful! Please let him know that others would like to give him a hug and tell him that he is a very special and intelligent young man. One I’m sure God is very proud of. And it sounds like you and your husband are very special parents and teaching your son great truths. Praying the Lord soothes over this incident and blesses both you and your son with happier moments.

  4. says

    What a poignant post and such a brave and beautiful child. Not to mention such a brave mom who not only loves her child but studies him and adores and rejoices in all the beauty God has put in him. I’m so sorry for our uncaring society but you may be more of a soldier than he ever was, your battle wages on different ground. Good job mama, fight on❤❤

  5. alex darc says

    I’m sorry this happened. No child deserves to be spoken to this way. It points to level of self=centeredness in this society that to me unexplainable. How can you call a total stranger (and a child) a name like that, for really no reason and then walk away, and probably never give it a single thought. What right you does any person have to do that? Thanks to my mom, who spent years defending her special needs child, my little sister, to people who should have known better and didn’t, I have a much sharper tongue than you do. I’ve been in this situation many times before and have been very clear with the “adult” in question who the “freak” is. That is the easy part. the putting the other person in their place part. The hard part is the putting the pieces of your child back together part. The part where a stranger’s words filter into their self-talk and vocabulary and into their image of themselves. That part is very hard part.

  6. says

    Dear Stephanie,

    How my heart hurts for your momma heart and for your boy. Unfortunately, people have the freedom to make their opinions heard and walk away because they feel justfied to spew hate and hurt no matter what because, it is how they ‘feel’ and they can do whatever they want.

    I have been on the other side of those comments far too often, as I am a momma of a special needs child who is now closing in on 20 years of blessing us as our daughter. It hurts. It is hard. I wonder if even by way of sharing what you have, it gives a bit of relief to our need to defend the beauty of our children here… blogging and educating others about the actions of those who don’t understand what love really looks like, what grace really means, I wish I had this opportunity then, to blog and to tell true beauty and teach bout loving those that don’t look like we do. Thank you for sharing your story, for writing it out so others can read it, even though it hurts to do it.

    Thank you for being Aidan’s momma, for loving him well. Don’t ever apologize for that. You are NOT a bad parent. I am reading a book by Laurie Wallin, which is on sale now in ebook form, called “Get Your Joy Back”. I wish I had read it 20 years ago, but I am reading it now and it is a huge reminder that you are a momma who is doing your best. You need to know that and remember it.

    And when Aidan steps into the purpose God alone has for him, it will all come together, because the reality is God is good.. ALL the TIME and He intends good for those who love Him, especially our kiddos who don’t always fit in with the crowd.

    I am praying for you sweet momma. I am thankful you shared your story and I got to read it. I am praying for your dear little man, too.

    Bless you!
    Dawn

  7. says

    This seriously made me cry, I am so sorry that happened to you and your amazing son. God gave your son his heart, and placed him with you on this earth for a purpose. He is special,and very loved. You are doing so well Momma seriously, don’t let that mans jerkiness/rudeness/terribleness change how you view yourself as a mom. You are doing great!

  8. Brittney says

    Your son is a gift from God and has been blessed with a kinder heart than most. Keep your head high because your son clearly has a purpose here.

  9. Cait says

    You are one brave mama. And Aiden sounds like an incredible young man. Seems to me you both are very lucky to have each other. Love and prayers from California.

  10. B Harris says

    Sometimes families of special children DO encounter cruel people. Those people have become old and narrow in their thinking, embittered, isolated from anyone other than their peers. However, just to give you a different perspective—–therYoue are older people who are having small strokes which can change their personality or those who have mental issues who may not have a filter for their own outbursts. Society is full of people with problems…they just look normal on the outside. They are the ones to be pitied for a huge lack of human kindness and respect for every person.
    As a sister of a brother with Down Syndrome, born at a time when society thought all people with mental deficiencies should be institutionalized, we encountered many stares and comments when we would go out and about. It does make you want to respond angrily and to defend your loved one. But choosing not to dwell on those negative thoughts is better for your well-being.
    I’m sure you know this, but help Aidan learn not to give those rude people power over his life. He is still young but all of us need to learn that we are God’s treasures, valuable in His sight, and His opinion of us wins out over anyone else.
    God has given you wisdom in giving Aidan a strong foundation. There will always be challenges of one kind or another, but keeping all of your lives centered in God will bring you through. Blessings to you all.

    • Betty says

      I was thinking along the same lines; particularly, what if the soldier was suffering from PTSD and it took all his self-control to deal with it and his response was out of fear of what if he hadn’t been under control. Yes, there are some just plain rude people, but extend grace to everyone you meet, at least until you get to know them well enough to know if there’s a reason behind the appearance.

  11. says

    Thank you for sharing such a difficult story. My heart aches that your son had to experience that. He sounds like an amazing boy and you an incredible mother. It makes sense why God made you his parent and his defense for the world. You have done so much for him already and taught him amazingly valuable traits that every child in this world should add to their list of qualities. I hope you can find peace with this man and be able to use it to love everyone more and help educate those who are so small minded. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  12. says

    The paragraph about the multi-facets of God’s character & us all being parts that make up that was AMAZING! I’ve never heard that take before, but it makes soooo much sense to me.

    My 23 yr old nephew has so many of the amazing, unique qualities and skills you penned as you described your son.

    I would be honored to meet your son!

  13. Natalie Randall says

    Stephanie, thank you for sharing this blog post. I would guess that it took incredible courage and wisdom how to deal with the situation as beautifully as you did. This blog post became an answer to prayer for me as just the day before I ranted on FB about other parents being judgmental of me and my very precious six year old son. Thank you for being so tender hearted and open to hearing from God. Your decision to write this was a God send for me.

    Aidan, you are an incredibly special young man. Don’t ever let what one person says hold you back from becoming everything that God wants you to be. God has given you unique talents and gifts that no one else has. He has made everything in His image, including you!!!

  14. stacy says

    Aidan, I wish we were neighbors so my 4 and 2 year old girls can play with you. You sound like a super rad friend to have.

    If you would like a penpal my 4 year old would love that. She could learn a lot from a smart guy like you.

    #youremyheroaidan

  15. Tiffany says

    I’m so sorry that your son and you were exposed to this horrible excuse for a man. Please remind your son that just because someone served for our country doesn’t make them a GOOG PERSON. That man was one of the worst types of people on this planet, people that judge others hatefully for no reason than their own insecurities. I hope your sweet son was able to get past this. My heart goes out to you momma.

  16. says

    I am so sorry for what happened to your son. I also have a grandson with autism and another one which is his brother with a terminal disease and I know remarks made at them when my daughter is out and about. God forgive them for what they do to his children. I want to address that he was a soldier. My husband is a Marine and I read this letter to him. He was very saddened and said he doesn’t know one true soldier that would do what this man did. He said I doubt that he was a soldier but one that was just wearing a jacket acting like one which their are many who do. If he was shame on him and what a disgrace he is to what ever military department he is from. No one should say anything till you walk in the shoes of that person. I pray that your boy will forget and go on which it sounds he has and you have taught him well. May Jesus guard your family.

  17. Jill Spinello says

    So heartbreaking and yet the only thing I can think is that that man is mentally ill and you shouldn’t have to spend one minute defending your son or trying to explain to anyone who can’t see for themselves how wonderful your son really is. You should feel sorry for that guy, who seems so hateful and miserable, and feel even more grateful that your son is who he is.

  18. Bob S says

    This was very sad to read… Just 8 days ago, I had my arm around a very shaken 15 year old girl – – and told her that “there are some people who simply are not very nice”. The story you tell portrays the ultimate example of such a person.

    This is a “life lesson” that your son shouldn’t have had to experience – – at least not yet.

    It is my hope that your love and support of your boy will overwhelm the ugliness that he experienced, and that somehow, this will turn out for his good.

  19. Pqatricia I. Manson says

    Hey Stephanie, just read your blog and was appalled that a vet would say such hurtful words to a sweet child like yours. He did the right thing by showing forgiveness. Maybe the vet was having a bad day, but it’s still no excuse for blurting out hurtful words. I go to a ladies bible study on Tuesday and last week we learned how powerful our words our and how they send out blessing and cursing, life and death so I will just pray that the words of Satan fall to the ground and produce no fruit. Life and death is in the power of the tongue and we need to be careful what we say, cause it goes out into the atmosphere and words do hurt, I grew up hearing negative, negative, negative, s it’s been a journey of changing my stinking thinking about myself and being careful of what comes out of the mouth. Like you, I hope the man sees what you wrote and repents. He looks like a very sweet child. God bless you and your husband for deciding to raise him in the admonish of the Lord. Pray Aiden day is better every day.

  20. Christiane says

    Aidan! What a beautiful name you have. You are so very special. And you have Jesus in your heart too. I really believe that God has great and wonderful plans for your life Aidan. You are unique and smart and sweet. Remember that always. That veteran man seems like a man who is really hurting a lot inside and yes he does need Jesus in his heart. It was very wise and grown up of you to forgive him like you did. You are truly amazing. May God truly bless you young man, as well as your whole family. Christiane from Canada!

  21. Bonnie Kam says

    Dearest Aidan,

    You may not realize it now, but the ability to be able to forgive quickly will be very helpful to you during your life. Forgiveness does not excuse the bad behavior, but by forgiving you allow God to deal with that person and make the necessary corrections. You are blessed to have such a special Mom.

  22. Nancy Neumann says

    Hi! I just read the Elijah List synopsis of the incident in the store yesterday with Aidan, and even though I’m not good at posting to Twitter, I decided I needed to do that in this case. So, I just posted an encouragement to Aidan at Twitter, with the hashtag you suggested. I hope you can find it! God bless him and encourage both his heart and your heart! Bless you a million times!!!!!!!!!!! Nancy Neumann

  23. says

    Stephanie you are raising a beautiful son. I work with children on the autism spectrum and with Special Olympics. I have to say that I have learned so many simple beauties from them. Their eyes, their smiles, their successes. Aiden is more than a diagnosis. He is a child of God. I have prayed for him every night since this incident and will continue to do so. He is going to take this world by storm and when he does-WOW!

  24. Laura says

    Dear Aiden, you sound like a very smart boy! You are indeed very special. I’m sorry the man in the grocery store was so mean. Some people are just mean and not very happy. It’s too bad he can’t be as awesome as you!! Give your momma a big hug for me!

  25. says

    Praise the lord for this little guy that’s how we overcome evil with good.If he has understand the truth of forgiveness what about us adult?God bless him he is truly special and loving only Jesus love in our heart can make us forgive our enemy God love him more than any human being can and he need to know that.All things work together for those who love the lord. God allow things to happen to us to show us our true character and this little guy has pass the test…he is truly bless.we can all learn from him lots of God’s love and mine Martina

  26. Katie says

    Dear Aidan:

    When I heard what happened to you at the grocery store I was hurt for you. I am a Jewish rebitzin (female rabbi), business lady and nurse who was called by Yeshua (Jesus) as a little girl to love and protect “the least of these His brothers”… I have taken care of deaf, mute, blind and multi-challenged persons for a very long time! I am so proud of you, and I know Jesus is even more proud of your generous heart in praying and forgiving that very sad and angry man…. What you did in prayer was give Jesus permission to send that man a very special present WHEN HE LEAST DESERVED IT! We all mess up from time to time in what we say or do – that’s why Mom’s understand our mistakes so easily and forgive us :)! They’re God’s gift to us!!! I know you’ll be A-ok! Thank you Aiden for reminding me to always choose to do the right thing; may Ha’Shem bless you and your family with a double portion of patience and grace for those unlovely moments so that the memory of it is only a passing glance behind you….never to be brought into tomorrow that is all new and fresh with no mistakes on its’ page! You are fearfully and wonderfully made in the exact image of G-d….you are a perfect replica of Him….you do not need to be changed into anyone else’s expectation of who you “should be” because He needs you just like you are – willing to look past the “outside” of people TO SEE THEIR R-E-A-L needs! Keep praying and changing the world one person at a time; G-d will reward you in wonderful ways :)

    Your friend,

    Katie
    (Highly functioning Downs Syndrome)

  27. Margarita Walker (formally Tait) says

    This brought tears to my eyes. Today at the park my son did as he usually does and stole food from a strangers plate. I am very great full and dread the day when we are faced with a person as closed minded as this man. God bless your family and the fabulous job you are doing on raising an amazing young man.

  28. says

    Being the Mom of a special needs son, I understand the grace and mercy our God pours out when we experience situations that are hard and painful, but He is the one that pours out His Love to change the world. Thank you for sharing the miracle of God’s hand in your life! Aiden … You are smart, you are handsome, and God made you special!! Shine for Jesus!!

  29. Petra says

    Dear Aiden,
    You are a wonderful little boy whom God made and loves – and there is nothing wrong with you!
    A little boy trying to play with a stranger is not wrong – you were being friendly. The man was not being very kind.
    Sometimes adults just get too crabby to play with a little boy in the store like they should! We should forgive the man, but don’t blame yourself for his bad behavior.

    And sometimes, people worry too much about the differences which God built us with. You are not stupid, or bad, you are made the way that God wants you, because He has a purpose for you, and He loves you just the way He made you. If you didn’t focus as intensely as you do, there are many things that you could not do – maybe not even read this letter – or understand God’s creation as well as you can. God has blessed you in who He made you to be because He loves you.

  30. says

    Kenya….

    Congratulations, young “man.” You have shown the world a maturity way beyond your age and inspired many of we supposedly mature believers to take a hard look at ourselves! You are indeed a special creation of our Lord with not only a big forgiving heart but also a big giving heart, e.g. supporting education in Kenya. Interesting that you live in Salem where we went to Willamette University (some years ago!). And next week we are headed to ‘your other country.’ Anything or any message you would like us to convey to people there in Kenya? In the meantime, keep on keeping’ on young man. You are one cool dude!

    Many blessings in Jesus’ Name!

  31. Shellie Blakely says

    Aiden, Jesus gave you some very special talents because there is no one else who can do the things that you are going to do. You are very special and unique (ask Mommy what that means ) It means that there is nobody exactly like you. You have GREAT and WONDERFUL things to do in life. Some people won’t understand about how special you are because no one ever taught them the important things about lots of different people. We just have to think that is sad for them. You keep trying to be the best you can be. Help everyone you can and maybe some day we will ALL understand about people who are as special and wonderful and unique as you are. Remember a BIG bunch of people love and admire you and your family. Have a happy day today!

  32. A mom says

    The only freak at that store was the man who doesn’t know how to be nice or have manners. You Aidan, are the hero, that man is nothing and he’s the dumb one. I don’t know you or your family, I don’t know a lot about autism but I know you deserve to be happy and treated with respect. It’s a shame an adult man has to resort to being a big, giant meanie! You are nothing short of amazing I’m sure, that man doesn’t deserve even a smile because ugliness comes from within and works it’s way out. He may never know how much words can hurt, what he said is proof that he has ugliness coursing through him. Do NOT let his words hurt you, know that you are beautiful from the inside and labels don’t define you. You are amazing and a gift to this earth so stay strong little man, keep being you and do not let the foolish words from an adult who doesn’t know how to be nice ever define you. You define you, YOU are the hero and I only wish happiness for you and your family forever. After all, our world can use all the real heroes we can get and you are a gift for all of this world. YOU are amazing!!!

  33. Another mother says

    Be encouraged. You are very special in the sight of God and so many that you do not know. You are only 5 years old, you have a wonderful life ahead of you. You are super smart, super special and a huge blessing to society no matter what anybody says. Remember the love and support of your family and many others. Those who are ignorant, you have set an example by praying for them. God bless you too mother, you are not alone. In tough moments, remember us who are cheering you on. Special people get to be parents of special children. God bless you and your family!!

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  1. […] have received both yesterday when posting the account to social media and in the short time since this blog post has gone live. The outpouring has been so beautifully encouraging and gives me hope that the angry […]

  2. […] So a sat down for 30 minutes, watching my boys playing out the window behind my screen, and put my feelings into words. It was off the cuff and right from the heart, words going directly from my brain to the page, and […]