© 2016 by Linda Poitevin. Created with Wix.com

A Mother's Journey Through Autism with

Her Daughter

April 16, 2019

August 1, 2017

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Dancing With My Daughter

 

One step forward,

Two back,

Move aside, out of the way.

Too fast!

Too slow...

Which way do I turn now?

You take away your music from me,

And I falter,

Stumble,

Step on toes I don’t intend to hurt.

You wince and pull back, whirling away from me,

Angry,

Frustrated,

So alone.

I watch and hover

As you dance on without me,

Without anyone.

Whirling, twirling, moving to music only you can hear.

So graceful.

So confident.

And then you smile at me, and hum a tune under your breath

And I find the rhythm there

And an invitation to rejoin you.

A sideways slide,

An awkward lurch,

Then at last I’m back in step again,

Mirroring your movements,

Matching your dips and sways.

You stretch out your hand to me,

And I take it, and we laugh as 

I spin you around at just the right moment,

And my heart fills with gratitude

As we share the space you’ve created,

The joy of the music you play.

Then others begin to join us, dancing their own dance--

So many.

And the volume of the music increases--

So loud.

And they’re attuned to one another--

But not to you.

And your steps quicken,

And your body tenses,

And the expression on your face turns fierce.

Hesitation.

Fear.

Panic.

You cover your ears and pull away from me,

And you sink to the floor,

And I know the dance has become too frantic,

Too many,

Too much.

And you sit alone while

The others dance on around you,

Each singing their combined song,

Voices in harmony,

but to your ears discordant,

Jarring,

Chaotic.

They call out to you to join them,

But you've gone somewhere else,

Somewhere you cannot hear them.

Where you cannot hear me.

And so I sit on the floor beside you,

Not holding,

Not touching,

Just being.

And I begin to hum, and then to sing

A familiar tune we’ve shared since your birth, 

Softly,

Gently.

I’m here. I’ve got you. You can do this. I love you.

 

Long minutes pass

And at first, I think you don’t hear.

And I hold back my tears and my fears

And the ache in my heart,

Not wanting you to hear the catch in my voice.

I’m here. I’ve got you. You can do this. I love you.

At last, still seated, you begin to sway, and

I stand and hold out my hand,

And you take it

And rise from the floor,

And a space clears around you,

And we move together again.

One step forward,

Two back.

A slide and dip to the side.

Slowly your grace returns,

And you find your rhythm,

And rediscover your joy,

your confidence.

And then you let go of my hand

And your fingers slide from mine

And I watch you pirouette across the floor to join the others.

But not quite,

Not all,

Because I can see that your dance doesn’t match theirs,

And it never really will.

But you forge on,

With them,

Beside them,

and it's where you belong.

Creating your own space

And singing your own song,

The one you've practiced since birth.

I’m going now. I’ll be back. I can do this. I love you.

And I hold your words in my heart

As you turn to smile at me,

Remembering them.

Answering them.

Singing back to you as you dance away.

I’m here. I always will be. You’ve got this. I love you.

Linda Poitevin                    

copyright December 2016