I wanted to send some love and express my heartfelt gratitude to the Girl Scouts of my hometown.
On Saturday, I went to the grocery store with my daughter. As we approached the front door, I heard her laugh and followed her smiling eyes to a group of girls wearing cookie costumes. She grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the group, drawn in by their enthusiasm and positive energy. The girls immediately smiled and cheered as we neared and invited us to purchase some cookies. Having just bought 5 boxes from my neighbor’s daughter, we didn't have a need for more, but my daughter's and the girl’s excitement was infectious so we went over to the table anyway.
One of the parents asked if my daughter was interested in being a Girl Scout, while the girls surrounded my daughter remarking on her red hair.
“Do you want to be a Girl Scout, honey?” I asked her.
“Mmhmm” she replied, clapping happily at the idea.
I walked around the table to exchange information, keeping my eyes on my daughter as we were still close to the street.
“We just moved to the area and are really looking for ways for her to find new friends, grow her self-confidence, and become involved in the community. The fact that she’s so excited by the girls tells me everything I need to know. She’s incredibly insightful when it comes to people and loves being around those that are genuine, honest, and fun. She also has autism.” I said.
Over the years, I have found myself involuntarily watching people’s expressions and body language when I tell them about her. I suppose the Papa Bear in me wants to protect her from the world. I looked in this parent’s eyes and saw only acceptance, understanding and care. The complete lack of judgment was so uplifting and rare.
She looked at my daughter, who was now recruiting cookie lovers with the girls, and said “She’ll be great. Let me take down your information and get you started.”
I wrote down my contact info and looked up at my beautiful daughter. A teary laugh burst out of my chest. The girls had put her in one of the cookie outfits. The joy in her eyes, the acceptance from those around her, the love she felt was overwhelming.
As we were driving home, I called my wife to tell her the story. There was a smile on my face and tears in my eyes, while my incredible little redhead sang ‘Girl-Scout-Coo-Kies’ in the back seat. My wife cheered her on and I made her a promise that I would be the best, and most embarrassing, Scout Dad possible.
Thank you again for this moment of joy. You have provided a measure of hope and grace that we didn't expect but gratefully accept.