I Saw You

I saw you light up with pride when they said “it’s a boy”.
I saw you struggling to comfort him when his only comfort was me.
I saw you fighting to calm your temper when he screamed and hit out at the world, overwhelmed and confused.
I saw you light up, basking in his brilliance and his sense of humour.
I saw you powerless and emasculated when he defied you again and again.
I saw you struggling to protect us from the pain of it all, too proud to ask for help.

I saw you recoil with pain when they first spoke the word “autism”.
Together-alone we spiralled chaotically through the stages of grief; denial, depression, anger, bargaining, acceptance.
Numbness was ever present.
When the grief hit us both at once we clung to one another.
Other times we clashed; one of us in denial the other in anger, one of us depressed, the other grasping at acceptance.
Exhausted and shamed we built up walls.
Each trying to reach the other but speaking different languages, hearing only blame and criticism.
I saw you overwhelmed and powerless, looking for an escape.
I saw you quietly decide to stay.
I saw you exhausted and pushed to your limits.
I saw you get up the next morning and try again and again, and again.

I see you learning to understand our little stranger and to know who he really is.
I see you advocating for him at school and with our families.
I see your hurt when he is left out of a game or treated unfairly by another parent.
I see you share his joy of “Minecraft” and “Stampy Longnose”.
I see you understanding him in ways that I do not.
I hear you explaining the world to him in ways that I cannot.
I see unconditional love binding you together, strengthening you both.

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