prose poeming on autism acceptance day

And All Our Pieces Add Up to Awesome

...those days when you'd only sleep if I was nursing you. all day long. and then I'd need a break at night and you'd wake screaming. and then your dad would take over because I had no more patience (and I'd never known more clearly what "touched out" meant) and it all seemed so much harder than what everyone else was doing, but all I could see was how you were holding your head up already that third day and smiling, when you weren't mad at me for taking my milk away from you.

...those days when you were so pointed with your desires, but only had single words to use. we communicated by song and baby sign and single words and it was ok because all I could see was how amazing it was when you could tell me which way to turn to get to your dad's office (or the store, for a new toy) and your smile lit up the whole world.

...those days when you'd scream and scream, so frustrated not getting your way, so typical in your not understanding why things weren't going your way, but so atypical in the veracity of your response. and all I could see was how patience and understanding were my biggest allies, and not giving in, standing firm, which is not easy for me, but I kept my patience with myself, too, even when it was the most hard (leaving Target without milk for my coffee because you wouldn't stop screaming over what you wanted, past the rule of "pick one").

...those days when we met your best friend at the park and you flung yourself into playing with her, your glee at seeing her and her mom (how you loved them both) and how she'd try to boss you around (seven months older than you) and you would have none of it and your aloofness would keep some kids from knowing how to play with you, but I could explain, because it was all questions your best friend had asked and she gave me so much, seeing you through her eyes.

...those days when we left Alabama and the transition of that entire summer coinciding with your four year growth spurt and some days I didn't even have enough energy to care that I was so tired but all I could see was doing what was best for you, bringing you here so that you could thrive, like you were meant to thrive. Teaching yourself to read. Teaching yourself to slow the words down so they made sense, once the speech therapist showed you what that sounded like. Finding new best friends. Staying self-contained, but learning the scripts you needed.

...those days when we all learned how to get what we needed without all the drama of elongated toddlerhood and you started sleeping more and all I could see was how much the recovery from sleep deprivation made me a better person.

...those days when our conversations started being about more than what you wanted and more about what you wanted to know and all I could see was how amazing it was to be able to show you how to learn all the amazing things about this world.

...those days when all I could see was how much your imagination astonished me.

...those days when your aching heart was hurt by things I couldn't control and all I wanted to do was wrap you up in my arms and eradicate everything that hurt you, but the world doesn't work that way and so I did my best to comfort you, showing you how to comfort yourself and all I could see was despair.

...those days when you asked me for a little sister because your cousin had a new little sister and your friend had one, too, and you thought that would be the most awesome thing and I had to break your heart again because your baby sibling died and all I could see was there's nothing to be done.

...those days when you asked me to lift you up so you could see the speakers at your friend's sisters funeral. and then you hugged everyone even though it had been difficult to get there because you don't do tight clothing and you were unsure about so many new people in one place. And we just had to keep reassuring you because this is what we do when someone is hurting, even if it isn't comfortable for us, and all I could see was that teaching you how to be a good friend is just as important to me as everything else you'll ever learn.

...those days when we say our gratitude for the day and what you're most thankful for is me (or your dad or your stuffed animals because they are what you've been playing with most) and all I can see is my heart, bursting into love and pride for this awesome person you're becoming.