Dear Autism Mom,
I see you. I see you doing everything you can to give your child the best possible life. I see you dealing with hand flapping or head banging—behaviors with which mothers like myself may never deal. I see you remaining calm when your child is having a severe tantrum in the middle of the supermarket parking lot because you didn’t let him/her open the automatic door. I see you sitting at the park, encouraging your child to sit in the sand instead of walking the perimeter while periodically looking up to observe the other children playing, talking, laughing. Maybe you hope or pray those children could be yours, but you’d never let anyone think otherwise. I see you quickly tense up when others approach your child, prompting them to use their use words and nice hands, and I see you relax when the exchange goes well, a sense of relief visible in your eyes. I see you reaching to cover your child’s ears when a sound is too loud or offering a squeeze if your child is too overstimulated. I see you setting clear boundaries, rewarding positive behavior, and supporting your child’s independence.
I want to share something with you. I wish I could be as kind and supportive as you are. I wish I could set clear expectations for my child, not just give in to every want and need. I wish I could be more brave and selfless and devote more time to my child like you. Seeing you love your child so unconditionally hurts. I see you, Autism Mom, and I want to be more like you.