The faces of Autism are our children and we love them. We work tirelessly to get what our children need. But you do not see the faces behind those Autistic children. For the most part we hide, trying to make sure it is our children that get the attention and the help they need.
No one expects an athlete to compete at his best if he does not rest and take care of his health. No one wants a doctor to preform an operation if he isn't well rested and in a healthy state of mind. We spout things like if mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy. We say it for a reason, if mom or dad is not taking care of themselves how can they best take care of their children? What happens when taking care of your child is the very thing that causes you to neglect your health and well being? What if the care-taking of your child is so all consuming there is no rest or peace.
I am in a place now that I am able to meet my needs physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When Ike was young that was not the case. I was a mother I never thought I would be. Desperation, depression, and anger were my daily companions. But we do not talk of these things, they are ugly and uncomfortable. No one wants to know how often I lost control and screamed at my child or curled up on my bed while he watched hours of television because I couldn't be a mother one more minute. It is my weakness and my shame but also my truth. Parenting a child with Autism is hard.
I have been following closely the Kelli Stapleton case recently. If you
don't know about it I invite you to look it up. You will find people
willing to voice their opinions on both sides. I feel for this woman and
her family who are in an impossible position. Why did no one notice she was at the end of her rope and help? Most importantly I am
sitting back and watching. What is society going to do? They have been
forced, for a moment, to hear the Autism caretaker's cries. Cries of
frustration, helplessness, sorrow, determination and pleas. Many will
look the other way and cast judgements. It is nothing new to us. But we
live in hope that even a few will hear and help.
We had the same hopes and dreams for our children when they were born. We have had to let go of many of them but in the end the most important ones are the same. We want our children to be happy, to be accepted, and loved. We need help. We can't do this alone. This is our reality, the one we live with everyday.