Dear Stranger who just happens to find
The drama and troubles that weigh on my mind,
Who stumbles upon my tantruming son
And shakes your head at what’s being done.
I know his cries are loud and distraught,
But cries for your stares are one thing they’re not.
You look at this shouting, inconsolable lad
And assume his parents must be horribly bad
To have produced an action, a child like this
But the truth is something you probably missed.
The word is autism and it’s not always nice
And though you mean well I didn’t ask for advice.
But go on and stare; I’m watching too,
But I’m not thinking the same thing as you.
I’m not as worried about the noise,
Instead I’m thinking about two boys.
The one shouting who is drawing your ire
And the one whose silence you seem to admire.
I think of a world that can’t help but leer
At the child I love so well and so dear.
The stares help, they truly do,
To remind me we’ll never be like you.
Don’t worry; it’s not him that you’ll bother,
The only ones you’ll hurt are his mother and father.
But stare, go on and stare if you must
With your mouth open wide; face full of disgust,
I’ll walk by and try to remain quiet,
Secretly thinking, “If it’s so easy, you try it!”
Children cry, you may have seen it before
So please don’t make me walk with eyes on the floor.
Instead of a stare, try maybe a smile
It might help as I pass through this little trial.
And maybe, just maybe, the next time you see
A child who’s not quite like you or like me
You might see yourself walking in their shoes
And maybe even broaden your views
To accept my child different from your own,
But a child who need not stand alone.