The Son Before Me

The Son Before Me
By Leslie K. Cawley

Receding hairline with faint blond hair
Still clinging to your face,
You are standing still
Sock in each hand,
Twirling them in delight,
I go unnoticed, you are in
Another world
Distanced from mine
Eventually we meet again
Watching a movie
Hearing you repeat phrases
That interest you
Suddenly, a grin
A tease about
A Disney Land Resort
Way too expensive vacation
But you try anyway to ask
Even have the date picked out
Reacting silly you laugh
Next on the sofa with pen
Making lists of who knows what
Serious expression on your face
Very important task
That’s unending but must be done
I see you fill the ice tray
It’s empty and that’s not right
Lining up the movies, the trains
In just the right order
Now you can relax
Meal time, you point
To your food of choice
On the table, but we intervene
“Use your words”
You come back with,
“Macaroni and Cheese, pweese”
Taking seconds is a compliment
You enjoy yourself
Again, routine is important
So taking your dishes to the sink
And looking at us as if we have forgotten
Medicine to be given
You talk with your eyes
More than you can say with your mouth
We understand each other
The mind inside your head is constantly
Working, creating something
That’s a mystery to the rest of us
But maybe it’s a treasure
Exclusive to you
Autism is a mystery but
We wouldn’t change you
You are valuable as you are.

Note: Our oldest son is autistic.

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