Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas elves and human kindness

Today, one of the nicest - just plain kindest - micro-stories I have ever seen on the Internet unfolded right before my eyes.

It started with Marita and her daughter Annie. Annie, who has Aspberger's Syndrome, was struggling to understand why her younger sister Heidi, who is also autistic, had been provided with an iPad to help in her learning and development, via the FaHCSIA Helping Children with Autism Funding. Rather than trying to explain this further, I recommend you read Marita's post, and, more importantly, listen to Annie herself talk eloquently and passionately about the inequities in autism funding.

The next day, the beautiful Kim of Frogpondsrock wrote this post, drawing attention to the situation and saying simply, well, why can't Annie have an iPad? I think she can, said Kim - and if we all think so, then we can make it so.

I read Kim's post on my Android while trotting from one committment to the next, and made a mental note to come back to it once the madness of our end of school year party had subsided and I could get to my PC (I don't do financial stuff on the phone. Call me paranoid, I just don't).

But when I sat down at 4:30 to go to it, I found that it was all done and dusted. The money was raised in 4 hours flat, a discount was negotiated by the lovely Nathalie of Easy Peasy Kids, the iPad and apps had been bought, and a dream had come true, an inequity been rectified.

At that point, I had a serious case of something-in-my-eye.

There is so much I find wonderful about this story. Annie's articulate and passionate speech; Kim's simple and immediate statement of the need; the instant response and generosity of so many people; Nathalie's participation to arrange the transaction; and Annie's delight at her new tool, as shown in the photos Marita tweeted. What I found so moving about it all was how rapidly, how sweetly, how beautifully it all all came about. Just plain human lovingkindness, displayed as purely and perfectly as you'd ever want to see; no carping, no cavilling, just people seeing a need and reaching out to fill it.

This, for me, is what blogging is about when it's at its best - being part of communities (often several intersecting ones), communities that can support and grow and educate and entertain and, yes, love each other (in that peculiar, but not false, online kind of way). It's not always or even often about money, but it is about lessening each others' loads, whether it's with shared humour, venting, information, conversation, or just the acknowledgement of the voice of people who may not have another one.

The friends I have made - and I do call them friends, even though I've never met some of them IRL - through my blog and through Twitter are hugely important to me, and I care about them and their worlds. The communities I'm part of here, on the flickering screen, are none the less real for being virtual.

Enjoy your iPad, Annie. You deserve it, and we all wanted you to have it so much.

And to all my online friends - merry Christmas to you all.


  1. I've got a whole lotta little somethings in my eye. Been a very emotional day in our house. I can not say thank you enough.

  2. My online friends are hugely important to me as well. I am a "doer" I like to be doing and I often don't think things through I just decide, I reckon we can do this and off I go.
    Yesterday was a huge day, we raised the money so very, very quickly and I was skipping around the house hugging myself and having quiet little squees as people just responded so generously.
    Yesterday was a good day. :)