04/09/2015 10:56 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Just Ask Me

Welcome, April. Once again, you've come back to us all.

You, with your morning chill and afternoon sunshine. You, with your false promises of spring and lofty first breaths of summertime. You, with your campaigning, your sentiment feigning.

All this awareness reigning.

And my boy, blondish and blue. He's part of the mystery too.


Spring is about change, but what changes here? Autism is a pair of heavy boots, always waiting by the door.

I am aware, April.

You can raise your flag and sound the call. But I know those shouts, I've heard them all.

Awareness brings us in, names us plainly and makes us one. It makes the people look and wonder, it makes you ask that question. What is it?

And I like when you ask. I like when your child smiles and is unafraid. Why does he do that? Why? I like the questions.

It's autism. It's a disability, little one. And for my boy, it is disabling.

My boy and me, we look at wheels. We go to the museum and spend our hours watching the way the sun shatters through the skylights. We have wordless words between us, I hear his soundless cries. We count the boxcars on the trains and eat only black jelly beans. We are a pair, a part -- of our family, of our town, of Awareness.

You can tell the whole world, April. Light. It. Up. Blue.

Use big words and shine the beacon. Throw a big party or shout it out from the tippy top of the Empire State building.

I don't care. I can't care. We can't go to your party, it's too loud there.

So, if you need us, my boy and me, we will be at the grocery store. We will be buying raisins and a gallon of milk. And, if you should happen upon us -- a big boy, tall almost like a man now, but with eyes that see things much more simply. And me, one small woman, holding his hand. Eleven years old and I'm holding his hand. (This is NOT the sad part, this is where my heart leaps out for the luckiness of it.)

If you see us (and you will see us) because WE are everywhere -- touch me on the shoulder and ask. We can talk about it.

I really want to talk about it.

Because I know things, April.

About autism. About being lucky. About being blue. And I am a mother, just like you.

Maybe you can help me. Maybe you are curious. Maybe you understand.

Or maybe, you have questions. Questions that can't be answered by some pamphlet, some news story, or a blue light shining from a building up high and far, far away. Questions for me, for the others like me.

Maybe I can tell you what you need to know. Or maybe I can't.

Either way, I'm an expert in my own awareness. And I know autism.

Oh, how I know autism.

Just ask me.