Today started as any other Thursday with a full hour of Speech Therapy. We drive to this particular building at least twice a week for one service or another - all services I'm thankful for but don't always look forward to. Sitting in on speech session after speech session and witnessing the challenges that Oia has to overcome in order to communicate breaks my heart over and over again. I leave each session feeling so proud of my girl yet all the while thinking of the road that still lies ahead. Progress is so slow that I question whether it's even happening at all, although I know it is. I confess. Not being able to understand your child is pretty darn hard to deal with and Apraxia just sucks.
So feeling a little down, I made a little detour by Starbucks before heading home. Oia was in need of a snack anyways which made me not feel so guilty about treating myself. I ordered our drinks and a chocolate chip cookie for Oia then we headed on our way.
On our way out of Starbucks, we passed a lady sitting alone at one of the cafe tables just outside the door. She was clearly just enjoying her morning, with a crossword puzzle book on the table, but more there to people watch I assume. Oia hobbled up to the lady as she proudly sucked on her strawberry frappe, said hi, and then continued on past. I too exchanged a hello with the lady, wished her a good day, and on we continued. I then traded Oia's drink for her hand so we could safely walk across the parking lot. Oia is slow. We take our sweet time. She likes to lead the way. She chose to veer left, walk up a curb, take a few steps, then step back down again. She passed by another stranger to whom she shouted one of her famous hi's, clearly earning his attention. Finally, we made it to our car. Oia decides it's best if she climbs into the car herself, which again, takes forever but more power to her. As I'm patiently waiting for Miss Independent to make her way into the car (mind you, my hands are full with both our drinks, a snack, car keys, and my wallet), I'm startled by the lady we just saw sitting at the cafe table, who at this point has just rounded the back of my car and is now standing next to me. A million things ran through my mind. The protective, momma bear in me was ready to attack if need be but then the lady spoke and I immediately backed down.
Looking at Oia, she says, "She is my hero".
"Oh, yeah?" I say.
"She's so beautiful and she spoke to me and made my day. I really enjoyed watching her walk away, too. She is so happy with who she is and it's wonderful to see. (pause) She is just so beautiful."
Speak no more, lady, you just made my day.
Naturally, I thanked her for such kind words, we shared a few more words with each other, then introduced ourselves before parting ways. Oia finally made her way into her car seat and soon we were ready to hit the road again. My mocha tasted especially sweet on the ride home and my ho-hum mood brought on by another slow speech therapy session was diminished. Those out-of-the-blue words from this complete stranger has kept me floating throughout the day. I may still be floating tomorrow.
This lady could have only thought these words as she watched Oia and I walking through the parking lot. Instead, she chose to catch up with me to share what was on her mind. Her random act of kindness, which only lasted just a few seconds, meant a great deal to me and frankly, it was just what I needed this morning. All too often in this rat race known as life, these particular moments seem to be a rare occurrence. Perhaps we should all live to note the seemingly small things and then bring them to light to brighten someones day. Those who do are the real "heros" in my opinion, and the stranger today at Starbucks was mine.