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  • November 17, 2017 3 min read

    Black Friday is looming - signalling a weekend of slashed prices at many large retailers, but not here at Hold upon Heart. You see, it really doesn't make sense for a small business like ours, where each product is carefully hand made to order. We don't tend to do sales full stop really, as we prefer to set our prices so they are as fair as possible all year round. We also believe that we already offer good value, as when you buy from us you are buying something totally unique, that is made with great care. We are not alone in not liking the Black Friday madness, there is a movement of small independent businesses who are taking a stand. This wonderful blog by Holly’s Lollies, explains brilliantly that, when you shop with a small business, you are already getting excellent value for something that is often unique, and always made with love. Better still, by supporting small businesses you are often supporting a family directly, and you certainly are supporting our family when you shop with us.

    SO INSTEAD....

    So this Black Friday, instead of joining in the madness, we have decided that we will donate 10% of our sales made on Black Friday to the National Autistic Society. This is a charity very close to our hearts, as our youngest son is autistic, the non-verbal with severe learning difficulties kind of autistic. I still get a lump in the throat just writing that. Autism is getting a fair bit of attention these days, especially since the A Word has been aired, but the autistic spectrum is very broad, and people are still puzzled as to what autism actually is. The National Autistic Society do sterling work in raising awareness of autism, and the more aware we become of our differences, then hopefully the kinder and more accepting we will become as a society. We know ourselves how upsetting disapproving stares are when out and about with our little chap, and this is simply due to people not being aware.

    Despite the challenges that autism presents, our little boy is absolutely beautiful and a massive bundle of joy, and he fills our lives with colour (and a lot of crumbs). Rainbows are often associated with the autistic spectrum, and below is the most beautiful poem which compares the autistic mind to a box of unravelled rainbow ribbons. This was written by Dani Netherclift, about her own son, but it so describes our experiences with our own little boy that it could have been written for him, I have it framed on my living room wall, and snippets of it often come to mind.

    He doesn’t speak the words.
    He brings you your things from a drawer,
    one by one.
    He knows whose things belong to whom.
    He leaves your shirt at the gate
    through which you will return to him,
    when you go away.
    My heart feels like a cloud before rain,
    that is full of love, not sorrow,
    love for his sun-ray smile,
    and his gapped-pearl teeth,
    for his sing-song little words,
    Golden hair, his
    shapes and numbers.
    For his constant touch.
    He is not what you think
    when you see the word, the label –
    and his mind is luminous and gorgeous,
    clever and unusual,
    Sweet and funny,
    more like a box of rainbowed
    than thread neatly spooled, just one colour.
    He doesn’t speak the words
    – I love you-
    (and he loves us with his kisses and snuggles,
    because he is not what you think, no
    checklist of deficiencies and lackings)
    but he knows them when you speak them to him,
    first thing in the morning,
    last thing at night. He said ma-ma once,
    in the dark of a night of when he was only just one,
    little fingers stretched out to me, seeking my skin.
    It’s taken nearly 18 months more
    to begin to call me a word of his own,
    meeting me halfway there
    and I think of old Ma Kettle, with her brood of
    children and her dishevelled hair, and I smile,
    thanks Boodi.
    He doesn’t speak the words-
    He pinches and kicks and rages right now,
    striking out when he can’t communicate any other way,
    because communicating is so hard for him,
    my bouncing, flapping, spinning, laughing boy,
    and I have to learn these new lessons
    of patience and composure,
    for real now, not
    the passive aggressive seething under a calm surface
    of old -I have to remember just how much
    he needs me, and how hard the world is
    for him to feel his way through.
    I have to remember to control my impulse to yell back,
    to instead reach out, and in,
    to draw him out of the vortex
    and hold his hand,
    quiet these wild hearts of ours
    with safe places instead.
    Some words he doesn’t need.

    You can find out more about the National Autistic Society and about autism at http://www.autism.org.uk and you can find more about Dani and her writing at http://sandhasnohome.com

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