For the autism moms who dread Halloween

I see you, the moms carefully prepping for October 31.

I see you carefully creating costumes that won’t irritate.
I see you scouring the web for the perfect pieces.
I see you sewing.
I see you driving all over town.
I see you ripping out the tags.
I see you crossing your fingers.
I see your sigh of relief when it works and the frustrated tears when it doesn’t.
I see you rehearsing the way to trick or treat, preparing for the sensory assault, and fine-tuning your evacuation plan.

I see you on October 31, moms of the children who want to be brave.

I see you sending off your anxious but resolute daughter into the carnival.
I see you assuring your son it’s ok not to wear a costume.
I see you crouching, soothing, whispering.
I see you cheering them on, showering them with praise.
I see you holding everything together.

I see you, too, moms who are proud of your children’s self-advocacy.

I see you treating October 31 like an ordinary night.
I see how you somehow make the night special for your family anyway.
I see your children handing out candy instead of receiving it.
I see you together inside, hiding from trick-or-treaters, watching favorite cartoons for the thousandth time.
I see you popping corn, reading books or playing games.
I see you watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”

I see you, moms who are speechless when friends show kindness.

I see your gratitude when they ask how to include you in their plans.
I see you answer the door with joy when they stop by to bring your child a treat.
I see your lip tremble as you read the text, “How are you? Is the day going ok?”

I also see you when you feel alone.

I see how you lay down all your dreams to make new ones.
I see you when the friends don’t call, don’t message, don’t stop by.
I see you when you feel forgotten.
I see you cleaning up the remains of dinner, eyes threatening to spill, as you carry the tension between contentment that your child is happy and disappointment that you aren’t.
I see you holding your overwhelmed and exhausted child, drying their tears and holding back your own,

And I see you on November 1, when life returns to normal, whatever that means.

I see your shoulders relax because you made it.
I see you already preparing for the next big thing.
I see you loving, guiding, and praying.
I see you shepherding your child to be the man or woman God designed him to be,
and I see you making the world better for your child.

I clap for you, moms. I’m proud of you. I am you.

No matter what you’re feeling this October, I see you.

New here? Glad you made it! I write about my unique joys and challenges as Mom to Henry, a smart, tender, quick­-witted, train-loving, autistic 10-­year­-old with an infectious smile. I long to encourage autism parents and empower all to see inclusivity doesn’t have to be difficult - it can be beautiful. Like what you see? Sign up here to receive news and occasional freebies just for insiders.

1 Comment

  1. I just read this post with my eyes welling up with tears the whole time. I do not have a “special needs” child, but I identified with so much of this. Maybe all of our children have special needs, and we all just want to be seen in the ways described here. Excellent writing and thank you for “seeing” me.

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