Do you ever have those one time encounters – where somehow this stranger just says the right thing at the right time or does something to help you in a way that you didn’t even know you needed? Then that person is gone and usually you don’t even know their name but what they did for you, the memory of that, is burned into your heart and soul forever???
It has happened so many times over the years, particularly when I was in the midst of dealing with C and a meltdown in some public place and at my wits end, completely out of ideas as to how to get him out of the situation and safely home. One of the first times I remember was when C was enrolled in a preschool sports club at our local community centre. We knew he was struggling at school and had difficulty reading social situations and acting appropriately but we didn’t have a “diagnosis” to pin on him to try to explain to people. We knew it was more than him just being immature or choosing to be a “brat”. Unfortunately other people didn’t know and I was struggling to try and get the staff at the community centre to understand and to let me help. On this particular day, I was feeling embarrassed and chastised and I felt like all the eyes of the parents in the waiting room were on me. I had settled C back into class and flopped on to a chair – ducking my head and willing myself not to cry. I vacillated between being angry, embarrassed, overwhelmed, anxious – the whole gamut.
A lady came and sat beside me. She began to speak. She shared the story of her brother – of who my C reminded her of. This woman and I were strangers. But she opened up to me and we both got tears in her eyes as she spoke of her brother and her admiration for her mother – oh how her mother worked and fought for her brother over the years. Just before she left she told me “he reminds me of my brother and he’s doing great now. And you remind me of my mother – you are doing great”. She left, I never saw her again but I have never forgotten her.
There have been other times – two times that stand out in particular revolved around someone hitting my car. Seriously. On two different occasions, several years apart. The first time we were at the school, which is just down the street from our house so I would rarely have my car parked at the school. But I had been called because C was having a rough afternoon and so I had raced directly to the school. Once I arrived things went quickly down hill, which was not the usual course of events, and it was dismissal time and my son was wreaking havoc in the secretary’s office – refusing to come with me, not even letting me approach him. I was standing there, actively praying silently “dear god, please help me through this. Help me to help him when I have no clue what to do”. Suddenly a man, who I had NEVER seen before, enters the office and says “excuse me, I’m looking for who owns the very small grey car out front” and it turns out he has backed into my car but instead of just being like so many people and just driving away he has come to find me. Me, the woman who has just had an awful day at work only to be topped by a 7 year old ball of energy that was my son. Suddenly, my son stopped – his body grew still, his tears subsided, he stood up and looked at the man “you hit my moms car?” and with that my son had moved on to something else. Overwhelmed by the need to fulfill his rightful role of worrier and surveyor of his mother’s car, he walked calmly with me to the vehicle. In the end there was a small dent in the licence plate – that was it. I never saw that man again and no one at the school could identify who he was. I knew, he was an angel sent to help.
The second time was remarkably similar – C was at Cubs, where he had made friends and was doing very well but on this day he had become dysregulated and I couldn’t get him to leave. I didn’t want him to be humiliated and I didn’t want people to judge him for this momentary lapse. None of my tricks worked though and I was quickly getting pulled into the abyss that C and I were always teetering on at that time in our lives. Suddenly a woman – never seen before, never to be seen again entered the church hall to inform us she had backed into someones vehicle – a “small grey car”. C stopped in his tracks and grabbed his coat. We went out to survey any damage (a very minute dent in the side panel – soooooo worth it in the long run). The woman was soaking wet as it was pouring and she looked so distressed. I knew A might be unhappy with me but I just thanked her for letting me know and waved off her insurance information – it was so minor and I needed to get C home.
The first angel went out of her way to share with me – the other 2 disappeared as fast as they appeared. All 3 I have no doubt are angels, sent to bless us when we most needed it. For that I am forever grateful.