Well, World Autism Awareness Day is over for another year. I love that day, I really do. It feels like the whole world is seeing us, reminded of us, and hopefully they given a bit of an education on this wonder that is autism.
My son, of course, asked to go to McDonalds for Autism Day. How could I refuse? He knew it was a day of celebration, celebration means McDonald's, or moreso, their PlayPlace.
As my children were exploring the wonders of McDonald's play structure, I noticed an older boy walking happily around the base. As soon as he covered his ears when the younger children squeale with delight, I knew he was one of our own. He spoke to me,and I spoke back, smiled when he smiled. An older lady who had been watching through a glass window came and sat next to me on the bench. She motioned towards the autism pin on my shirt. "I see you're wearing an autism pin", she motioned towards the boy, "my grandson has autism."
"Yes", I replied, " I saw him covering his ears, and thought that he might. My son has autism too."
We chatted back and forth, the conversation was pleasant, comfortable. The lady was comfortable, and so was I. All because I wore a pin that marked me as a safe person.
So many of us moms sport our autism bling. We have bracelets, earrings, keychains, scarves. So much of it bought as fundraisers, so much of it that just calls to us. Sometimes we wear it so others might better understand our children, and sometimes these small symbols make us recognizable to each other.
Imagine if more people wore their acceptance. If our communities were filled with people who wore their support for others to see.
I am glad I wore that pin that day. It was a poignant reminder of why awareness matters, and why WAAD is worth celebrating.