Tomorrow, you were supposed to be
dressed in a smart, new uniform,
spiffy shoes, ready for the first
day in school. But you aren’t
Today, I tried to hug you,
cradle you. Awkwardly you let me
hold you, made yourself smaller
to fit my fears.
Tonight, you mutter in your sleep
words unknown. I look across
the dark and wonder if you know,
will ever know, how much we
“How long is the intermission?”
I wrote this poem on the 2nd of January 2018. The 3rd of January was the first day of school for all children turning seven that year. For most parents in Singapore, it’s a special day, often marked by Facebook updates of their not-so-little ones in their spiffy, slightly oversized, school uniforms trundling off to school and the wide blue yonder.
My son was supposed to be one of them, but the doctors had advised he spend an additional year in pre-school and early intervention. My son is on the autism spectrum.
I wrote this because I worry, as I think all parents of special needs children worry, about how my son will take care of himself and make his way in a world that sometimes seems ever more cruel, intolerant and unjust.
And I have no answers.
A hope that I see in how he takes of his little sister.
Protects her at the playground.
Tugs at our arms when she decides to wander off on her adventures.
Cries when he sees her in pain or distress.
Comforts her even though he doesn’t always have the words.
And that is enough.