I wrote this post back in May 2018, and never posted it because I was called away. Every news cycle makes the theme of this post more and more relevant.
Kindness - once a virtue that everyone tried to emulate, kindness appears to be the exception. It doesn't get attention, or bring in the big bucks. So, authors jump into the void and provide books that make kindness the answer to our problems.
Together at Midnight by Jennifer Castle follows two teens who witnessed an accident and felt that they might have intervened in time to stop it. Challenged by a waitress to complete a certain number of kind acts by midnight on New Year's Eve, the teens do the best they can. Each kindness is followed by a chapter detailing the recipient's story.
Captain Superlative by J.S. Pullar. A mysterious student dons a costume - including a cape - and races through the halls of a middle school doing good deeds. When shy Janey follows suit, the "hero" gains an unlikely sidekick.
One of the biggest kindnesses is adoption - opening your home to a stranger's child - like the kindness in this post's featured book.
If Only by Jennifer Gilmore - when Ivy's mother was Ivy's age, she had Ivy. Then, she tried to find the best adoptive family for Ivy. This book tells of Bridget's choices in finding a home for her child, and it tells of Ivy's search for her birth mother.
That brings me to my story:
17 years ago, my brother and his wife adopted a little boy. I remember my first meeting with him - a wispy haired whirlwind of laughter and madness - tearing around their rented home in his diaper. Madcap, unpredictable, he made his parents so happy.
They knew that he might have serious learning disabilities. They did
not care. As he grew, they met each challenge with all the
determination of Mama and Papa Bear.
He had attention issues and was VERY hyperactive. Spending time with him was hilarious and frustratingly tiring.
When he entered High School, they discovered that the private school education - a great school, known for its work with learning disabilities - had not taken hold. They had two choices; place him in special education or find another specialized school.
They sent him away to the Gow School in South Wales, NY. On Friday, he graduated from Gow, with an acceptance to college.
In If Only, the teenage daughter wonders if she is the best possible version of herself. The book records her teenaged mother's attempt to find the perfect adoptive family for her baby. Each "possible" family is given a chapter.
If my brother and sister-in-law had not adopted their son, would he be a different version of himself?
All I can be sure of is this. Watching my nephew graduate made me proud. The speeches that he and his classmates had to give before they got their diplomas told similar stories. Before they got to that school, many had been told they would never graduate, never go to college, never amount to much at all.
My nephew is lucky to have parents who were willing to put their financial security at risk to educate him. The world would be so much better if all students had this kind of support.
Kindness - big, small and in between - is always the right choice.
PS. He finishes his first year of college in May. He has done very well.