from the book Voices of Autism

One of those Parents
Carla Charter
I am one of those parents who insist on a meeting every year to explain my childís disabilities to a new set of teachers.

But please understand, Iím the one who sees the hurt in my childís eyes from an insensitive remark or catches their tears because someone in their world just doesnít get it.

And realize that what youíre hearing at that meeting is only a small window into what I deal with every day.

Not for 1 hour, not for 6 hours, but 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

I am one of those parents.

Iím easy to spot. The crazy woman in the back row at a kidís sporting event.

Not screaming because my child hit a home run or missed a catch

But instead cheering because he almost hit the ball or, blessings upon blessings,

even somehow got a bunt.

And once in a while Iím there in the stands just giving a little thanks

That at the very least he didnít get hit by the ball.

Understand that in some ways my childrenís disability take away small pieces of their childhood.

So I jump at every chance for my kids to be able to be just kids.

I am one of those parents.

Who helps their kids with their homework.

But please understand itís not as simple as setting them up at the kitchen table

And letting them do it.

On the good days itís being there to heap on the praise and make sure they keep their momentum going.

And on the bad days itís pulling them through the homework.

Problem by problem,

Sentence by sentence,

And sometimes word by word.

Insisting night after night,

Week after week,

That they keep at it until they get it.

Even if their disability is making them feel like they never will.

I am on of those parents

Who gets excited over the little things.

A good math paper,

Learning to write a story,

ride a bike,

tie a shoelace.

But please understand.

Iíve been there when they couldnít do these things.

And day after day I still insisted they keep trying

Because something deep inside told me they could.

Iím the one that does the eye exercises at night,

Not hoping for perfect penmanship

but praying instead for at least legibility.

Iíve been there when an expert said if and when my child accomplished a goal

Only to see that child soar above their expectations

On their sheer will power alone.

Please understand I am not complaining.

My life has been blessed a million times over by these children.

They have taught me more about faith, hope, determination, laughter and miracles,

than I could ever hope to have learned on my own.

Yes, I am one of those parents

But please understand my childrenís disability has made me that way.