Thursday, March 03, 2016

The Kindness of Strangers

Especially when their kindness makes them not strangers. When it makes them some sort of extended family that you may not see regularly.
I've gone on and on about the outpouring of love and help for our family, but the 'random' encounters with people we don't know is also oh-so cool. When you put your life out there on the internet, especially when you have kids and you involve them, it can be scary. In the past ten years I've had many sleepless nights wondering if I've done them a disservice, if I should pull everything about them off of the blog and my photo site and FB... Most days I would willingly share to reach our friends and family who are not close by, or to parents of kids with clubfeet. In the past two years I've shared even more, even more often, to connect with other parents of kids like Ruby, whether with Down syndrome or Leukemia. That opens us up to a lot. But the main thing (it IS the main thing) it opens us up to is kindness. Kindness because people can relate and they appreciate our posts. Or kindness because Ruby has shown them a side of something they had no prior knowledge of. Or kindness just because. We were blessed to have so many examples of this just in a week's span.

When Ruby finished her surgery today, her friend, Morris (the 'hospital tag guy'), and Amy, a woman Ruby and I met early on in our stays, came to visit Ruby. They brought balloons and a stuffed animal. They stayed and talked and entertained Ruby for about 15 minutes. Without FB, Amy wouldn't really know who Ruby was, having only seen her around the hospital a few times. But she tracked down Team Ruby's site and followed her and came to see us during some of our stays and brought Ruby (and her siblings) homemade hats. That is kindness....crazy kindness.

When Ruby and I got on the elevator to leave, the woman standing in it heard me say "Ruby" and said, "Oh my this Ruby?! We all follow her online and love her!" I had never seen this woman before in my life. This is not a rare occurrence for us. When Lehr was walking her across to the clinic to meet me yesterday after our Aflac visit, he was stopped by several women in the lobby who knew Ruby and wanted to say hi. Lehr did not know them. That is kindness.

Last Sunday we attended a fundraiser for Songs for Kids. We were stopped by several people who wanted to talk to Ruby. They had heard through the grapevine about her. Maybe through one of the SFK musicians, or maybe through a friend. But they stopped and said hi and smiled. That is kindness.

On Sunday, we will hang out with people who are shaving their heads or supporting those who will, all in an effort to raise money for childhood cancer research. The first boy to ask to shave his head for Ruby has never met her. He found out about her through a teacher who happens to be a friend of ours. She showed him videos and pictures of Ruby from FB. This boy was hooked and pledged to shave his head for the first time in honor of Ruby. That. Is. Kindness.

I have to believe more good than bad is coming out of our *public* life. Because when someone stops you and makes a big deal out of your daughter, it offers a moment of sunshine in what may have been an otherwise tough day full of doctors' appointments, or procedures, or reminders of her delays, or what feels like parenting 'fails'.

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