Wildflowers for Jade: I can’t look…

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I can’t look…

I don’t mind questions about Jaden and Autism; in fact I welcome them. It doesn’t matter if the questions come from the utmost ignorance, as long as the asker’s heart is sincere in wanting to know the answers. It means they care, it means they want to learn.

I also started from the utmost ignorance; television dramas and stereotypes my only education that made me miss what should have been obvious.

One inevitable question, usually asked in halting, apologetic words, is “What about the future?”

This is the question that silences me.

That word has changed for me. Once upon a time to me “the future” invoked a picture of a road stretching out long before us with colorful shadows of might be and possibilities marking milestones.

Now the future is this week. I know what we’re doing this week. We’re going to school four days of the week and going to other therapies on two days. I have waffles and vegetarian chicken nuggets in the freezer, Dominos on speed dial, Lays chips and Chips Ahoy cookies for snack time, because that’s all Jaden will eat. The laundry is done. I’m ready for the future.

But I know that this isn’t what they’re asking. And I can’t say. I can’t even look.

Sometimes I glimpse up, usually unintentionally, and the shadows of “might be” have changed. Hopeful colorful ones are still there but they’re now joined and mixed with scary dark ones. Every time Jaden hits me when he’s mad, the dark ones loom in front of me. Every time he gets distressed and just can’t understand what I’m saying to him, or when I see his neuro-typical peers shun him and break his heart because he doesn’t understand. Or when he gets stressed and loses his words, or starts screaming at strangers to shut up.

I glimpse ugly futures every time I read a story about police mishandling or abusing a person with Autism, because they didn’t understand. Or when I hear about people forced into institutions, or becoming homeless on the streets, or victims of hate crimes, or perpetrators of crimes.

It makes my heart literally hurt, it makes my chest tight, and I look down. I keep my eyes to the ground at my feet.

I can’t look.

It’s not as if I’m ignoring the future. Almost all of my time, energy and money is going towards it. Diligence relaxed would ensure that the colorful shadows die. I’ve found that walking the road seems more like climbing cliffs. I heed the well-worn advice to not look up - or is it don’t look down? Just don’t look. But I’m climbing.
I’m reminded often of the scripture “Where there is no vision the people perish.” It is a bit like that. Hope for the future is an essential part of life, even if things don’t turn out as you envisioned them. And I do have a few hopes for myself. I know it’s necessary to be able to keep going. But like every good mother my future is wrapped up in my child’s, and I can't see it.  


  1. breathe mom, don't forget to breathe, The future is something that happens because of what and who we are right at this moment.

  2. Thank you Corabelle. That's kind of beautiful.