I wrote this poem for my gorgeous son Michael and to remember what it was like when he was young. Things have changed a great deal in the past 5 years and continue to change on our undulating journey through the world of autism. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Message to Michael
A message to you, Michael, our son.
We love you now and have always done.
You took your first air on the 28th day of September,
two weeks early, a great day to remember.
You had a shock of black hair and a newborn cry,
that clenched my heart and raised me to see why
you were upset? Was it hunger or some hurt?
Was it the need for a cuddle or a burp?
There was no easy settling like most babies do,
in the early hours of the morning. What a hullabaloo!
Thank God there were two of us to take turns in the night.
A feed and long cuddles until all was right.
A strange pattern emerged as you grew past two.
No waving at others when they waved at you.
Switching lights on and off was one of your things,
and looking sideways, pulling at our heartstrings.
Lining up of objects, such as chairs and tin cans.
Creating order from chaos but ignoring demands.
We’d call your name but you’d not seem to hear.
Too immersed in the depths to even see our tears.
When we tried to talk you’d respond with the same,
just like a parrot, Echolalia its name.
Daddy’d come home asking ‘How was your day?’
You’d reply right back ‘How was your day?’
Being our first child we didn’t know what to think.
Were all children little scientists? My heart began to sink.
Where was the communication? You didn’t seem to comprehend
this complex world around you or how to play with friends.
At playgroup you stood away from the crowd,
twisting your hands, keeping your head bowed.
You’d sit in silence and focus on one toy
blocking out all around you. One overwhelmed boy!
One day you refused to enter. It was all too much you see.
You screamed in the car and held on tight to me.
So playgroup ended – I couldn’t bear it anymore.
I wouldn’t make you go – my boy who I adore.
At Kingscliff you played in the ocean so cold.
We took you from the water but you would not be consoled.
Waves and foam were your fixation. Chilly sea no vexation.
Then I knew what was wrong – no need for further information.
I saw a boy who was swimming in the dark sea of autism.
I saw a boy whose white light hadn’t passed through the prism,
to disperse into the rainbow of colours expected.
I saw an out-of-sync boy with his striking wings extended.
I saw you near to the surface and ready to emerge
from the murky but mesmerizing depths, then submerge.
This was the beginning of a tumultuous journey
that would see my fledgling soar most beautifully.
To be continued …
Written by Mummy (aka Gabrielle Bryden)