Letter to Mom of Autistic Son

Hello Miss. You don’t know me but I was in the shoe store earlier when you were trying to buy shoes. I say trying because I saw you having such a hard time trying to shop, try on shoes, and manage your son. He would not just sit on the stool and allow you to take even one step away from him to shop. Every time you tried to walk the aisle, he grabbed your waist and moaned as if a toddler in the early stages of a tantrum. Only it was clear you son was at least six or seven.

When I saw him finally break down and latch on to your leg until you couldn’t move my heart went out to you. I would have loved to just sit with him and hold him, not to make him feel better but to give you just one moment to focus on you. You couldn’t even enjoy that one moment when you were able to pick a pair of shoes and try one on. You could only try one on. Your son became fascinated with the other and would not give it to you. His holding it was the only thing giving him his own moment of peace.

I saw the fatigue weighing on you. It seemed exhausting trying to control him and do what you needed and wanted to do for you. So many of us take for granted the ability to enjoy a day of shopping, but I cannot any more after witnessing your struggle. I can only imagine the things you have to consider before going out to perform any typical task when you have your son by your side. And the way people reacted to your situation was infuriating. To ogle and turn their nose up in disgust as if his behavior was a result of poor parenting or lack of discipline. Yet you held your composure and tried to make the situation as undisruptive to others as possible. You were amazing.

My nephew is autistic. I don’t know if your son is autistic or not and I apologize if I am assuming wrong. Your struggle reminded me a lot of what I have seen my sister go through. I have witnessed her struggle, heard her cry when she thought she was alone, and admired her patience. I admired the same in you. I guess the purpose of this letter was to let you know you were not alone. Someone notices your struggle and is praying for your continued strength.

I know while your actions show your unconditional love toward your son, he may not be able to show you how much he loves you in any of the traditional ways. A mother myself, I know that can tear a hole in a mom’s heart. I believe God will reward your sacrifices, patience and love. I join you and celebrate, in advance, that moment when it is all be returned in a single instance of clarity, when your son looks you in the eyes and with all affection and tenderness say, “Mommy, I love you.” Stay encouraged and do maintain the resolve that your child has greatness in him that will impact the world. Thank you for being a great example of love.


An Admiring Mom

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