This year has been a hell of a year. I am sure we can all agree.
Whilst staying home more, I have found myself relying more on social media for entertainment.
It keeps you connected with the world around you, helps you stay in touch with those you’re not seeing in person, and keeps you informed.
The downside to this for me is seeing how many awful things happen in the world.
The pain and suffering that goes on on a global scale, but also the struggles those I care about have to face on a daily basis.
It pains me to see bad things happening to good people. I use a lot of emotional energy wishing and hoping there was something I could say or do that could make things better for them; even if just for a moment.
There is such an ugly side to social media.
I find myself gripped by the comments sections of news articles.
People arguing their case over lockdown restrictions, vaccinations - just anything and everything really.
We are all frustrated and fed up and it’s all too easy to get involved and make yourself feel even worse.
I’ve seen people get personal with others and saying things I wouldn’t dream of saying to someone.
It’s easy to let this taint your view of the world and spiral downwards into a pit of despair.
So I just wanted to share a nice thing that happened recently.
One of the positives of this year has been I have set up a local group where we share accessible walks.
It’s a great and proactive place as everyone is on the same page looking for what we CAN do in life; something I hold dear in a world where quite often the world can seem so inaccessible and isolating.
We did a walk at a local park and I was excited to share it with everyone.
We finished the walk and had a little wander around the precinct.
Who should we see but Father Christmas!
We still don’t know how much Amy understands, and most of her learning seems to be done via song.
So I started singing a Santa song to her. She looked at him and looked so excited.
This sort of excitement is a big deal for us as Amy quite often withdraws and only wants to look at her iPad.
She is a social little girl but it can take effort to help bring her out.
Santa climbed out of his grotto (stepped out of his van, which was decorated beautifully) to get on Amy’s level.
He asked her name and spoke with her, and had his picture taken.
He gave her an advent calendar and wished us a Merry Christmas.
The elves were also jolly and went the extra mile to make Amy see how special she is.
As we departed I took note that they were raising money for a charity and popped some change in the bucket.
It was a really heart-warming moment and she cheered and smiled for a long time after the encounter.
When we got home I went on the Facebook page of the charity to post a photo and thank them for our unexpected nice moment.
The charity looked at Amy’s page and had a read.
They decided to give half of the money raised to Amy’s just giving account. (Don’t worry - they also made sure to match the money given so that other people didn’t miss out).
It was such a kind gesture, completely unprovoked, out of the blue.
I filled up with tears and showed Phil and then sent the messages to my family who were also thrilled for us.
Moments like that remind me that it isn’t about arguing, or being petty.
It’s about being kind to each other, about having empathy, about giving what you can, recognising other people’s trials and tribulations.
It wasn’t about the monetary value of the donation (though obviously it was gratefully received and will be wisely spent), it was about connection and understanding and what the gesture meant to us.
Amy had a tricky day that day. She was having a lot of seizures.
She was in pain with her leg. She was contending with a lot that day, and does most days.
So any chance to make her smile and remind her that life is beautiful is a real blessing to us.
It’s tempting sometimes to remove all social media and become a hermit.
I’d love to go without and break that addiction, I guess it’s just about finding that balance and trying to make sure that more good comes from it than bad and to try not to read the comments sections.
A big thank you to “Rob and his Angels” (please follow on Facebook!) for making Amy’s and our day special that day, and for helping to remind us that there are still good people in the world.
It made my day seeing so many people like and comment on the posts we did on Facebook about it.
Sure, it didn’t go viral, but it interrupted an otherwise negative news feed with something nice.
I mean what’s more magical than a child meeting Father Christmas?
I’m not undermining of course the very real issues that are happening in the world right now.
I am just trying to say that we have to make sure we don’t lose sight of the many amazing little things that are also happening right now, in spite of such a challenging time for everyone.
Have you got a nice moment or story to share? It would be great to start a positive thread! My other bit of good news was that I started a fundraiser to purchase a GoTo Seat for Fleetwood Beach Wheelchairs. I am so grateful to the people that donated.
People that maybe aren’t part of our world but can see the importance in making sure everyone gets to enjoy the beach, irrespective of mobility.
I can’t wait until they receive it and we can go with Amy and show you all what they’ve managed to achieve.