To my beloved Son:
I see you when you shove your sneakers on without untying the laces because tying shoes is still a challenge and takes too long.
I see you change your clothes several times a day because one pair of pants or a shirt becomes too hot or uncomfortable after a while.
I see you skip brushing your teeth because the bristles against your gums is unbearable.
I see you when you do brush your teeth, after much nagging from me, and you don’t use toothpaste because it’s intolerable.
I see you when you ask me every morning just before school drop-off if your face is clean of food because you don’t feel it when you have butter or crumbs around your mouth.
I see you try to eat new foods, but still can’t swallow them, or their smell is so offensive you can’t even give them a taste.
I see you when you jumble up time because your brain doesn’t process time very well.
I see you when you become self-conscious running around with your buddies, noticing how they seem to glide across the grass like a gazelle, and you don’t.
I see you when I take you for a hair cut and you have to go outside a soon as your cut is done because the smell of perm chemicals in the salon is overwhelming.
I see you when I hug you and you turn your head because the smell of my morning breath is intolerable for you.
I see you when you won’t let me brush your hair because it hurts too much.
I see you when you have trouble facing new situations and new people, until you get comfortable with them.
I see you when it’s Sunday night, and the thought of having to go to school in the morning stresses you out.
I see you Monday mornings when you open your eyes, only to crumble into tears when you remember it’s a school day Monday.
I see you when anxiety morphs into sheer terror panic, feeling like you’re going to die.
I see you when you have to curl up into a ball in your safe soft place in your closet when your brain is freaking out.
I see you not wanting to go to school because everything they stress during school: reading, writing and math, are big challenges for you.
I see you feeling stupid because school has taught you that if you don’t get good grades and catch on to what they’re teaching, the way they teach, you must be stupid.
I see you try to please people around you, like me and your Dad, and your teacher at school because your heart is pure gold.
I see you trying to just make it through the school day with your teachers interpreting your behavior as apathetic, and all you want to do is crawl into a bunch of blankets.
I see you when you’re so tired and worn out that your ability to talk starts to give out.
I see you cry when the world has overwhelmed you because it expects more from you than you can give.
I see you wanting to be accepted and loved just as you are.
I see the true you because I know a secret that the rest of the world doesn’t know. You came into the world with amazing gifts that might not be fully realized for a while. I see how amazingly fast your brain works at times. And you definitely have the potential to change the world. You came into the world with a Christened consciousness that won’t let you lie, cheat or steal. You have a heart bigger than anyone, and it’s my job as your mother to see that it doesn’t get trampled, until you’re old enough to do that job for yourself.
I’ve seen how far you’ve come, and as difficult as things get, I know you’re going to fly.
This post was inspired by an article I read today: I Stand Quietly: A Letter to My Daughter and to Everybody, written by a mother of a child on the Autism Spectrum.