‘Twas the Night Before D-Day
A big part of why we created this blog was to give a voice to our volunteers, staff and those affected by autism. Shannon’s poem is our first guest blog post and a timely one at that.
Shannon is the mom to three boys and Jack (8.5) has autism. She is also the Connecticut Advocacy chair, and the Greater Hartford Walk Now for Autism Speaks Chair.
“He was diagnosed 6 years ago today and my heart was very heavy all day yesterday thinking about it because 6 years later not much has changed. The numbers are higher and the people in positions to aggressively put and end to autism are still qualifying it’s existence.”
Here is Shannon’s adaptation of the classic Christmas poem:
(Shannon refers to the day Jack received his Diagnosis as D-Day.)
‘Twas the night before D-Day, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, well except for the mouse
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
With hope that they wouldn’t be thrown through the air
All but one of the children, nestled all snug in their beds
Weighted blankets and melatonin could not calm his head
And mamma in her fleece, dad wearing his cap
They knew they would be awake for a while, no chance of a nap
When upstairs in Jack’s room, there arose such a clatter
Mom and dad flew up the stairs to see what was the matter
Up the staircase they flew like a flash
Passed crayon on the wall, and piles of trash
And there in Jack’s room, wouldn’t you know
A fractured alarm clock, he was upset by its glow
And what to our wondering eyes should appear,
The emptied bookcase on the floor, he wanted it there
With a cry of frustration, so piercing and shrill
Mom and dad heard the echo of others saying “can’t you just give him a pill?”
More rapid than eagles his tears they came
And he screamed, and howled and called us cruel names
“I’m leaving! I hate you! I’m running away”
Everyone hates me! I’m a loser, they say!”
To the end of the street! To the end of the block!
The screaming and yelling, it made the house rock.
So, into our arms, we hugged our boy close
Hoping we had the right sensory dose
And then, in a twinkling, we heard through our tears
“I’d like some water and to watch Sponge Bob downstairs”
As we drew in our breath, and were calming our hearts
We muttered, and cursed these Aspergerian parts
They were confusing, irrational, scary and quick
This disorder called autism, we had not picked.
A bundle of baby boy with whom we’d been blessed
Now 1 in 70 of autism’s unwelcome guests
His eyes how they twinkled! – his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
And the cleft of his chin was as perfect as gold
We would love this sweet boy, until we were old
Now the stump of a chewstick, he held tight in his teeth
Perseverating and stimming at the tinsel on the wreath
He had a round face, and a little round belly
Would only eat peanut butter and jelly.
He was inappropriate and goofy a right jolly old elf
And I laughed when he said things, in spite of myself;
A blink of his eye, a smirk on his lips
A shimmy, a swagger a shake of the hips
He did not always have words, but wanted to work
On painting, and reading and some other fun quirks,
Sometimes he’d put his finger inside of his nose,
Look to us for a nod, and we’d shake our heads “no!”
He jumps up and down, in his joy shrieks a whistle,
And he laughs, and he laughs, with not so much as a bristle.
And we’ve heard him exclaim, more often than not
“My name is Jack and I can do the Robot!”
– Shannon, Conn.
Do you have a story you want to tell or want to write a guest blog post for Autism Speaks? Leave a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.