I discovered this poem last year and loved it so much I had to share it here. It’s written by Cindy Waeltermann, also a parent of two children on the spectrum, and the founder of an organisation called Autism Link.
Cindy gets it so right, it’s a perfect description of what Christmas can be like in an autism household. I hope you enjoy reading.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Autism Night Before Christmas
Written by Cindy Waeltermann
Twas the Night Before Christmas and all through the house
The creatures were stirring. Yes, even the mouse
We tried melatonin and gave a hot bath
But the holiday jitters they always distract
The children were finally all nestled in bed
When nightmares of terror ran through my OWN head
Did I get the right gift the right color and style would there be a tantrum or even, maybe, a smile?
Our relatives come but they don’t understand
The pleasure he gets just from flapping his hands.
“He needs discipline,” they say “Just a well-needed smack,
You must learn to parent…” And on goes the attack
We smile and nod because we know deep inside
The argument is moot. Let them all take a side
We know what it’s like to live with the spectrum
The struggles and triumphs achievements, regressions…
But what they don’t know and what they don’t see
Is the joy that we feel over simplicity
He said “hello.” He ate something green!
He told his first lie! He did not cause a scene!
He peed on the potty who cares if he’s ten,
He stopped saying the same thing again and again!
Others don’t realize just how we can cope
How we bravely hang on at the end of our rope
But what they don’t see is the joy we can’t hide
When our children with autism make the tiniest stride
We may look at others without the problems we face
With jealousy, hatred or even distaste,
But what they don’t know nor sometimes do we
Is that children with autism bring simplicity.
We don’t get excited over expensive things
We jump for joy with the progress work brings
Children with autism try hard every day
That they make us proud more than words can say.
They work even harder than you or I
To achieve something small to reach a star in the sky
So to those who don’t get it or can’t get a clue
Take a walk in my shoes And I’ll assure you
That even 10 minutes into the walk
You’ll look at me with respect, even shock.
You will realize what it is I go through
And the next time you judge I can assure you
That you won’t say a thing you’ll be quiet and learn,
Like the years that I did when the tables were turned…….