Ahh, Our sweet little girl, Four Years Ago Today...
Daddy and I drove two hours away, while you sat quietly holding your “blankie,” looking happy in your car seat and seeming to enjoy the ride.
Daddy and I were quiet, too. I wouldn’t exactly describe our mood as happy, but I would say we were ready—ready to take on this day and whatever it brought to our family.
Holding back tears, I kept turning around to look at you and then at your daddy. I just couldn’t stop staring at either of you. I was scared, and I’m sure that your daddy was too. A few times, your daddy reached to hold my hand and I took it, then realized that I wasn’t holding his hand as much as crushing his hand with mine. It was then that we both knew that no words were necessary during this ride... We were all silent as we drove, each of us stuck in our own world as we made our way to our destination.
We had our directions.
We knew where we were going.
We, however, had no idea what we were in for.
“You have reached your destination,” the GPS echoed loudly throughout our vehicle. We were here.
I carried a bag of your favorite toys and snackies, and your pink sippy cup, Daddy carried you, and the three of us walked into a beautiful building, with windows covering it from the floor to the sky. This building was one of the biggest places you had ever been in, and you looked all around at the windows and the beautifully kept landscape, smiling the entire time. I smiled at you and I smiled at your smile. How could I not? You are one of the most beautiful things that I’ve ever created. Your beauty amazes me and you have a way to make all the bad in this world look stunning with just your smile.
We found our way to an elevator and went up many floors. You looked all around and I wondered what you were thinking because this was all new for you. Daddy and I had been in many elevators, but this time we were looking around in shock as if it were our first time, too.
The moving floor stopped, the door opened, and the three of us walked out together into the unknown. We had arrived.
We couldn’t really sit down because Mommy and Daddy were so busy chasing you all over that entire floor. After all, that’s what 2-year-olds do, and you were no different from any other 2-year-old...Yet. You had to check everything out, test your limits, and run to make us chase you, and we did just that, as you laughed hysterically.
Then, it was our turn. We heard someone call your name. Daddy picked you up while I carried all of our essentials and we followed the woman with the really cool outfit through the door that she was pleasantly holding open for us. We were motioned to another door, which opened into a room with lots of toys for you to play with, a small table for you to sit and play at, and chairs for Mommy and Daddy to sit in.
As we sat down, you decided to stand on top of the chair and then the round table meant to sit at and play with toys. But toys really weren’t your thing, and yes...you’ve always loved standing on top of tables.
Maybe someday you will tell me why, although I’m pretty sure I already know. You want to fly like a bird in the sky, up to the clouds so very high. Well, at least that’s my guess, because that’s what you sing as I try to get you down from flying, each and every time, my beautiful little songbird.
You don’t speak like everyone else—you sing your songs and you twirl and dance like no one is watching.
I’m watching. I’ve ALWAYS been watching.
And that day, someone new sat back and watched you, too. Would they see the beauty that is you? Would they say that it’s not “normal” for you to sing instead of talk? Would they tell you that you’re not meant to fly, and tell us that your world is not real, and that we must teach you to live in our world, a world where people stare and judge those that sing, twirl, dance, and try to fly high up into the sky? A world where little songbirds can’t do what they love to do without someone judging and staring, instead of watching what true beauty really looks like?
I’m still watching you, my little songbird, and you are truly beautiful. I will never tell you that you cannot sing, dance, and twirl, as if no one is watching. I’m watching...always watching and protecting you from trying to fly away.
Four years ago today, we took you on a two-hour drive, to a big building with lots of windows, into a room with toys. And instead of watching you play with those toys, we watched you as you tried to fly.
You didn’t know but others were watching you in that room too, and they didn’t see the beauty of your songs, twirls, dancing, and flapping ready-to-soar-high-up-into-the-sky wings.
They saw a little girl, not like other little girls; rather much different than other little girls your age. They told us that you were different and they gave us no hope for your future. They told us that you would never soar high like other kids and that you would always need help. They told us to keep you grounded here in “our world.”
Oh, how very wrong they were. Because YOU, my sweet little bird, YOU were meant to sing, twirl, dance, and flap like no one else is watching...autism or not.
Four years ago today, they didn’t see the beauty of you. They saw the label that people gave you. They tried to have us have you wear that label.
Four years ago today, they only saw that you were different and that you would always be different.
Four years ago today, they never knew just how high you would soar and how far you would go. How just because you are different doesn’t matter because different isn’t bad. You see, they weren’t really watching you at all.
But I was watching, I never stopped.
I’ve been watching ever since you were born.
You were meant to fly, to soar so high up into the clouds in the sky. And this Mama Bird has kept you just safe enough under her wings to keep you grounded when need to be. But I have never stopped watching you try to fly.