It’s Not You Son, It’s Us

You’ve been walking quite a bit these days. You like walking; it calms you. You like to look at the birds, the sky. You open your mouth to take in the wind. Puddles are too good to pass by without engagement.

You usually hold my hand. We talk about what we see. You repeat. You look, you smile, you laugh. Sometimes you point.

But this day you let go of my hand. Unafraid and free. You needed to move at your pace, faster than me. You needed to feel the ground on your own. So I let you.

I gleamed with pride that you could. You could skip over the large roots, balance yourself. Maybe something that you couldn’t have done just a year ago.

I was tired, but you weren’t. Nothing new really. Your energy is infinite, mine is limited.

I had to stop to catch my breath, but you kept going.

And it was there that it hit me. Watching your happy steps, listening to you hum to yourself. It hit me then and there that all this time, I was trying to get you to catch up. Catch up to the pack, catch up on the things you had lost out on all these years.

As I took my heavy breaths, I could feel the tears stream down my face.

It finally dawned on me in that moment, my child, that it wasn’t you who needed to “catch up,” but it was the world that hadn’t yet caught up to you.

It was us that didn’t have the answers. Or answers we thought we needed to find.

It was us that expected you to be and move and behave as we do.

It was us that checked off boxes and made notes.

It was us that feverishly looked to help you. Save you. Make you more like us.

It was us that grieved what seemed like loss.

It was us that asked you to look at us, to imitate us, speak like us, dance like us, eat like us, love like us.

When all you really wanted was to do all those things the way you knew how.

It wasn’t you. It isn’t you.

You are perfect. YOU — in all your infinite beauty and wonder.

It’s us son, we haven’t caught up to you.

Be patient, child.

I’m getting close.

Written by, Maria Garito

My name is Maria and I live in Milton Ontario- Canada. I’m a high school teacher currently on leave because of chronic illness. My life’s work right now involves advocating for government funded Autism services and supports for children and adults. I also advocate for more special needs supports in schools.

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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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