Home > In Their Own Words > ‘Twas the Night Before D-Day

‘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.

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