My valentine to ally parents, or why I will always choose love.
by Lei Wiley-Mydske
Sometimes, I am afraid.
I’m not afraid of autism, never really have been afraid of that. It would be foolish, since I kind of like myself, my child and my Autistic community.
Sometimes, I am afraid of how those of you who are on the outside see us. How you treat us and talk about us. That is scary.
When I am afraid, it would be easy to run and hide away. I just can’t do that though. I can’t do that because the love that I have for my child, myself, my community is so powerful and overwhelming that sometimes it just makes me want to burst. This love swallows up all my fears and pushes me forward every single day of my life.
I see this love when I look at my child. The way he jumps and jumps just to be able to take in this world. His laughter, his quiet moments, his dedication and perseverance. That is love.
I see it when I am with other Autistic people. They get it. They don’t expect me to look them in the eye, or do things in the right time. Because they know that the right time is however much time I need. That is love.
I see this love in ally parents who fight so hard for their children’s voices to be heard, humanity to be respected and the never ending battle against ableism to allow them to find their place in this world. That is love.
It’s a lot easier to accept the lies, and the fear than it is to stand up and fight back against them. To those parents who stand with us, that is the ultimate act of love.
To those parents who look at me and don’t see a burden or fear, that is love. Some things are hard for me, but you still see me as your equal.
I know this because that is how you look at your children.
You see those amazing children of yours as whole, and complete and deserving of all the love, acceptance and respect as any other person on this planet. You see us like that too.
When others dismiss us, you KNOW our value.
That is something that is still seen as revolutionary and exceptional. Though, it should not be. You ally parents know that too, because you are loving with every ounce of your being. You’re too busy loving to even acknowledge fear in your vocabulary.
It is noted and appreciated. Because we need each other to make this world a better place for Autistic people. Thank you to those parents who let us lead the way, but always stand beside us. That is love.
I’m afraid sometimes, but knowing that I’m not alone makes my love even bigger.
Between fear and love, I will always choose love.