Twas The Night Before Christmas

by Terry Kinne

This poem is written by a mother who has a child with Autism.

Happy Holidays to all...!

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
Asleep early for Christmas? unlikely path

The children were finally
All nestled in bed
When visions of Christmas
Ran through my OWN head

Did I get the right gift?
The right color and style?
Would there be a blank stare
Or even, maybe, a smile?

Friends & family come
But they don't understand
The pleasure he gets
Just from bending his hands.

"Just make him stop it," some say
"Just tell him "no",
You must learn to be tough.."
On, and on they do go...

We smile and nod
Because we know deep inside
The debate 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 some don't know
And what some don't see
Is the joy that we feel
Over simplicity.

He said "hello"!
He ate something green!
He looked me in my eyes
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!"

Some 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 envy, with wonder,
Or even distaste,

What we want them to know
What's important to see
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 so 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 our shoes
And I'll assure you…

That even 10 minutes
Into the walk
You'll look at us all
With respect, even shock.

You will realize
What it is we go through
And the next time you see us
I can assure you

That you won't say a thing
You'll be quiet and learn,
Like the years I learned too
When the tables were turned."

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