Dear co-worker who looks at me like I’m crazy because I’m super excited over my son having more than one Green Day in a row,
I realize that your children were perfect. I’m sure they listened to everything you told them to do. I’m sure they never got in trouble at school. I’m sure they grew up and had their own perfect children. I’m sure your grandchildren listen to everything you tell them to do. I’m sure they also never get in trouble at school. And I’m happy for you. I’m so glad that you had an easier time than I do raising your children. I’m so glad that you get to sit on your perch and judge other people’s children for their lack of obedience because your children and grandchildren are so wonderful.
The thing is, for some of us, it’s not that easy. For my son, it’s not that easy. Yes, he’s noisy. I realize we sat in a meeting last year and you had to endure him laughing quite loudly over something he thought was funny. I realize I was unable to get him to stop and you probably see that as my failure as a parent. I know it’s hard for you to fathom a child being loud because he genuinely cannot control himself and not because he’s oppositional. For my son, it’s just not that easy. I don’t think you know what I go through at home. You’ve never seen him hurt himself when he’s upset. And not to get attention, either. He’s not a child that stops when he’s hurt. You’ve never seen his bruises, his scrapes, or the knots on his head. You don’t know him. You don’t know me. You only see a child that needs to be controlled. You don’t see that it’s just not that easy.
I made no secret about him having Autism last year when I pushed Autism Awareness Month as an initiative at our school. As a teacher, you should be more educated about what Autism is and what it means. You should realize the challenges he faces every day. The difficulties with social interactions, communication, limited interests, and sensory integration make his life more difficult. It’s selfish to think about how it affects you. To be offended at how loud he is or judge him for “throwing a fit.” We’re working on him learning to work through the challenges, but it takes time.
So yes, I will give my child a Tootsie Pop when he has a Green Day at school. I will smile brightly and brag about it. I realize that for some children, Green Days far outnumber the yellows, the oranges, and the reds. But for my son, Green Days are work. He’s trying to be a “good boy” at school. He wants to do well and be loved and make us happy. But for him, it’s just not that easy. So instead of looking at me like I’ve sprouted two heads, maybe you should do what everyone else in the room did and celebrate with me.