Light it up Blue

In honor of Autism Awareness Day, I invite you to join me in "lighting it up blue" by highlighting the ways autism has touched your life.

Today's poem is (fittingly) a letter to a fellow "Aut and Proud*" parent we saw at the playground today**:

Dear Father of the Other (Presumably) Spectrum Boy at the Playground this Morning:

You most likely didn't notice us.
Remy was tricycling around and around
but that's not so far from typical.
You left (so early, your boy afraid of the dogs)
before our boy stopped circling and excitedly
flapped his way over to the slides
and began shouting his gleeful, meaningless gibberish.

You'd have noticed the flaps, I assume. And known that gibberish well,
tho your boy did have some sentences.

Maybe you noticed how, right before your son
almost melted down (good save, dad) how I joined
you in assuring him "no dogs." The lady outside
with the (oh so sweet) yorkshires must have heard,
too, for they went on an extended walk.

And I was (so selfishly) glad that my boy
is not afraid of dogs. His quirks are there, obvious,
and noticeable to those who can see, but
he was raised with a dog (and a cat, both of blessed memory) so he does not share that fear.

I was grateful because I petted those dogs after,
hoping, against hope, that one day we'd love another dog.
That one day my boy would know that joy again.
That one day we'd be able to really say goodbye
to our bright white fluffy dog
and allow another dog his place.

And I hope, maybe against reason, that one day
your boy, similarly quirky, similarly loved,
will find a way to swallow his Fear of Dogs.

Because we are all just looking for unconditional
love, neurotypical or not. And dogs are the best
source I know of unconditional love. For us all.

I know cat people might disagree
and on some days I'd disagree too,
but today was a day I saw three cute,
fluffy, friendly yorkies, and loved them.
So I'm a little heartbroken my own dog is gone.
Forgive me. Your boy does not need
a dog (or a cat, or anyone) in his life
but you. And his (presumable) mom.
We can give that unconditional love,
no need for canine intermediaries.

You left before I could introduce myself, or presume to say "I know."
you left before your boy melted down completely
(good save again, dad) but we were there, together,
doing our part for our boys.
"Aut and proud." Loved.
And that is, in the end, all any child can ask for.

* "Aut and proud is a phrase that I know via Kristina Chew, who writes the lovely blog, We Go With Him.
** I wrote this poem on my iPod Touch and am hoping the line breaks/ formatting work. If they do not, I shall edit later. In any case, there will undoubtably be editing later, if this poem is to go on. Critique welcomed and appreciated.