The Things I Don’t Say

Our 5 yr old won an award at school. He goes to a public school and is in a special needs room.

The school was having a breakfast today to celebrate the children for creativity and my husband and I were so excited to attend. 

It’s hard to go to the events at school because it’s confusing for him but we do our best and do lots of prep work.

He first saw us and panicked….no no no. 

He was confused as to why we are at school. He thinks it’s time to leave. He screamed and said No Mommy, No Daddy. 

To the cafeteria of typical parents it appeared we are awful parents and he was running from us. When really he knows that school is his time and he has a routine. We just broke that routine and now he is in panic mode. 

After I calmed him down a sweet cafeteria worker made him breakfast and we sat through the awards. 

I knew when his name was called that he would not walk up solo, again this is not his routine. 

Dad took him up and he started screaming for me. More stares. 

A little girl behind me said, Oh we’ve got a screamer.

I couldn’t breathe. 3 big hits in under 30 mins. 

I can’t breathe. 

As the tears well up in my eyes I just keep blinking them away. The stares from parents are burning holes into my head. 

I can’t breathe. 

It ends and he sits with the other kids for pictures and I didn’t go up to get one because that is not how I want remember this day. 

I took one picture before he went up and will take one with his award when he gets home. 

This is the stuff I don’t say. I will post a photo on FB and everyone will say congratulations.

They will never know the actual heartache of the day. 

I still can’t breathe. 

I know if I did tell someone this they would say to take the positive away from it and believe me I’m trying but these are the moments that hit you. 

I forget sometimes I have a child with Autism, we just go about our lives and honestly just live.

Yes, our lives can be chaotic but it’s a controlled chaos. One we are used to that doesn’t involve a room full of typical parents. 

These moments sting. 

Of course I am happy for the other kids who got awards but I hate facing reality sometimes. 

I’m not going to end this one sugar coated because I only have a few hours to sit in this pit of grief. 

I have to pick up my little award winner and pretend my heart wasn’t broken today. 

Autism hurts. I don’t care what anyone else tells you. It’s not about them being typical it’s about them having such a hard life. 

It’s not about changing them and making them perfect little beings. 

It’s about living in a world that he can just be himself with no questions asked or stares. 

It’s about when things are tough for him that he has the space to regulate and go back out there.

It’s about just having an awards ceremony that he can understand and enjoy. 

He has no clue he got an award. Zero.

We do though and we are proud. 

I am proud of my son. He is so much stronger than I am. 

He sat through the awards verbal stemming and clapped every time someone else clapped. 

I pray I can get to this place where others don’t affect me. Where I can find my breath and say “bleep it” if he does meltdown in public. 

I just want him to be himself and no one question who that is. 

I did make eye contact with another special needs parent. Her eyes were kind, she got it. 

Autism hurts but I know that as time goes on it’s going to heal too. 

If you comment on this blog please be kind, we have all been in this situation and some of you have healed but some of us are still trying.

Please comment with something uplifting because there is another mother out there right now that needs to hear that. 

She needs to know that some days this hurts so freaking bad but one day it will be a beautiful memory. 

Let her know that she won’t remember the stress, she will only remember that smiling face in the photo. 

The face of a child who has been perfect all along. 

Written by, An Anonymous Mother

Finding Cooper’s Voice accepts guest posts from writers who choose to stay anonymous. I do this because so many of these topics are hard to talk about. The writers are worried about being shamed. They are worried about being judged. As a writer and mother I totally get it. But I also understand the importance of telling our stories. And this will ALWAYS be a safe place to do it.

Interested in writing for Finding Cooper’s Voice? LEARN MORE

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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