Here is my child, my most precious gift. I’m entrusting them to you for however many hours they are scheduled to be here.
Do you see my worry, my anxiety? Do you listen closely to what I tell you? Or will you dismiss my concerns as those of an over protective mother.. dismiss them like so many others have dismissed them before you?
Will you understand that the knot in my stomach, the ill feeling that has permeated my being about my child coming to your school, program, Sunday school, or camp is born of a long line of attempts and failures. Will you see the child I see.. under the hard shell of aloofness, impulsivity, anger or distraction.
Will you look beyond the spinning, the silence, the impulsivity, the distractibility or the anger and see the child inside.. wanting to come out of their shell..wanting to make friends.. wanting to participate?
Will you look beyond the adamant refusal to try something new and see more than just stubborn defiance, anger or tears.. and understand that new things are hard.. are frightening.. are frustrating.
Will you understand that it’s safer to look angry instead of scared.. To keep others at a distance where their difficult to understand actions, expressions, mannerisms are not so threatening.
Will you understand that the behavior you see isn’t a reflection of bad parenting, manipulation, or a spoiled child?
Will you patiently explain again.. and again.. and again.. why something works the way it does, what you are doing, when the next transition is, how to use your words and not your body to resolve a conflict?
Will you understand that being in a room filled with other noisy children is painful, frightening or overwhelming to the point where they just cannot take it anymore?
Will you reach out and help them make a friend, be included in a game.. on the playground.. in gym class even when it looks like they don’t want to be included?
Will you really make sure that they don’t get “just a taste” of foods that are forbidden to them..that make them sick.. regress..or behave wildly?
Will you take the time to talk to me about their day? Tell me something positive before you launch into the negatives?
Will you not look at me with the pained expression on your face that asks why… why haven’t we medicated them… put them in a school where there are only children like them…why we had to choose this placement for them?
Will you take a moment to realize that my worry, my insistence, my lists of concerns and my lists of suggestions are not made to make your life harder?
Will you realize that I’ve walked this path alone for so long, isolated, rebuffed, painted as “that mother” who just can’t let go..and not let my own hard protective shell turn you away?
Will you try to understand how it is to not be able to just drop off your child at school, camp, Sunday School, Gymnastics and know they will keep it together, have a good day, have fun…
Will you try and understand the resolve.. .the courage it takes to leave, knowing that…like so many times before… it won’t go smoothly…
Will you take a moment to try and show us that others, those who are not on this path… not in our shoes, can understand…can care…can accept?
Will you keep trying?
Will you stand, for a moment, in the shoes that I walk in?
Will you tread, for a time, on the path that I’ve walked?
Will you take a moment to see through my eyes..