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How a Stranger Reacted After Learning About My Son's Illness

A new pest control company came today to give an estimate. My son and I were the only ones home at the time. My son is 8 years old and was born with a rare genetic condition called Snyder-Robinson syndrome. Fewer than 30 people have ever diagnosed with this disease. I usually do not explain to strangers how or why my son is different than almost everyone on the planet.

A man in his late 50’s named Tyrone came to the door and I immediately felt relief because he was very personable and seemed very understanding of our dog’s out-of-control reaction to strangers.

I had done my best to make sure my son was occupied so I could talk to Tyrone about our pests. However, it wasn’t long before my son was asking for various things, and then attempted to go up the stairs without assistance. I instantly rushed to my son to help him up the stairs, apologizing as I left Tyrone alone in the kitchen.

Tyrone told me to please take care of my son, adding that he didn’t mind waiting at all. It’s not that I felt I had to explain, but I did. My son can’t safely go up stairs by himself because he is unsteady when he walks, and if he falls he can break (and has broken) his bones. After about five minutes, I was able to settle my son in his activity chair with a snack and his drink. Tyrone and I spoke uninterrupted for about three minutes.

I heard a crash from the adjoining room, and saw that my son’s snack was scattered on the floor. He then broke his glasses (which is why they have flexible frames), popped the lenses out and was loudly telling me he couldn’t see. Tyrone waited patiently again while I attended to my son. Afterward, we wrapped up our pest conversation and I signed the contract for pest services.

When he was about to leave, Tyrone turned to me and said:

“I admire what you’re doing for your son. I turn on the TV and see such sad things every day. People having to bury their loved ones. I recently decided that I would praise people when I admire them. You are giving him a beautiful life. You may not realize it now, but one day you will see what a good thing you are doing. I am close to tears, but I need to tell you. You don’t know how many homes I go to where the parents just throw money at their children and think they’ll turn out OK. You are making a difference.”

He really was close to tears and so was I. I wanted to hug him, but thought that may not be appropriate. I wanted to tell him how much his words meant to me, so I did.

I will always look back on that moment as a ray of sunshine in my life, when a stranger came into my house, got a glimpse of what goes on day in and day out, and praised my husband and me for doing what I wish to believe any parent would do for their children – love them unconditionally, take care of their needs, and try to keep them safe and happy.

One of my son’s best friends is a stuffed animal named Tyrone from “The Backyardigans.” He’s got great intuition.

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