My new friend, Brayden

Do you believe things happen for a reason?  The events in the last few days sure made me believe they do. My husband and daughter accompanied me to Savannah, Georgia for some work stuff I had to do and though it was a pleasant stay, we were ready to get home. In the rush of getting things packed and loaded, we forgot something.

About an hour into the trip back home, my stomach started growling at me like some kind of starved animal. I mentioned to Kenny that I wanted to stop and get lunch off one of the exits. In my head I knew I wanted Wendy’s-who doesn’t love Wendy’s, am I right? Instead of saying what I wanted straight up, I did the typical woman thing. “I don’t care, whatever you want.” He then proceeded to suggest Dairy Queen- ew. “No, I don’t want that.” I said. After back and forth suggestions of every fast food joint but Wendy’s, I finally spoke up and asked for what was making my mouth water. For some reason I just wanted it, bad. We pulled in (back to what we forgot) Kenny realized he didn’t have his wallet. Mother F*. Whelp, we had to turn back but not before I stuffed my face of spicy chicken sandwich with extra (extra) pickles.

We were sitting there eating and a woman approached me. She said, “I would like to introduce you to my grandson.” In my head, I was totally rolling my eyes. I just wanted to eat my sandwich and drive the hour back to the hotel to get my oh-so-forgetful husband’s wallet. When I looked over I saw a sweet, innocent, one armed little boy. My heart instantly softened. He couldn’t of been more than 10 years old and for a moment, I had a flash back to myself at that age. I had so many questions I wanted to ask him but I didn’t know where to start. Surely he wasn’t capable of having a deep conversation with me about his feelings towards missing his arm. I know I wasn’t able to at that age nor did I have anyone to have the conversation with. To be honest, I didn’t even know how I felt about it back then. I wanted to ask him if he had friends-sounds crazy but it’s a legitimate question to ask. I was fortunate to have friends who treated me no different but kids can be mean-maturity comes with age (in most cases). Instead of diving head first into an abundance of in-depth questions, I kept the conversation light. He has a little brother and likes to play soccer, got it. I have a little sister and played soccer in high school, cool! He too was born without his left hand, just like me. We had a few things in common which allowed for an easy flow convo.

I had an overwhelming feeling while talking to him. I felt proud of myself. I was supposed to be there, I was supposed to be at that Wendy’s. He hung on every word I said like I was hope and light at the end of a tunnel. By no means have I reached the end of mine but for the sake of the story, he looked…happy. Happy to talk to someone that truly understood. It was evident that he wanted to ask me a bunch of questions but a fast food restaurant was not exactly the right environment. I wanted to tell him to pursue his dreams no matter what, don’t let anyone tell him he can’t do something and don’t give up on this beautiful life. I reached into my wallet and handed him one of my business cards. I encouraged him to call or email me if he ever wanted to talk and I meant it.

Instantly friends. His grandma looked at me with tears in her eyes and asked for a hug. Without hesitation I wrapped my arms around her like we were family. At that point something happened, my chest was heavy and I couldn’t hold back the tears. I was making a positive impact on a kids life and that touched right deep down into my soul. I looked over to see my husband with tears in his eyes too, apparently we were all moved. I excused myself to the ladies room where I finished my sob-fest and cleaned up my face. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw joy-underneath the mascara and blotchy red eyes of course (I’m an ugly crier). This is what I was meant to do. The satisfaction I felt was something I hadn’t felt before. A different satisfaction. I walked out of the bathroom wondering if I now had the entire restaurant as my audience. The boys grandma quickly apologized thinking she had hurt my feelings. Quite the opposite, in fact I was so moved and touched that it opened a part of my heart that is inspiring this post.

A round of hugs for all as we departed ways. He even gave Lennox a love pat on the head with his little arm, which she didn’t blink an eye at-her heart is still so pure. A quality that I hope she keeps in her years ahead of her. Brayden, a little boy from Georgia was not just a little boy. He was special. Good spirit and kind disposition, I will not forget him. If I never speak to him again, I will always remember the boy that inspired me to pursue a goal that I had put off-for really no good reason. It’s me, it’s my purpose. It is why God cursed me and blessed me at the same time. I am going to embrace this in hopes that I may impact and inspire other kids with disabilities (I use that term lightly, I am in no way disabled) but you get the point. Thank you to my new friend, Brayden. You’ve got this kid, reach for the stars and don’t let anything hold you back. In times of struggle, remember you have a friend in me.






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