Friday, February 28, 2014

"Behind My Smile"

In most every conversation, with a stranger or a friend,
I am asked the same old question, time and time again:
"How are you doing?"; as commonplace as simply saying "hi"
But the answer doesn't always speak the truth, rather a lie.
Instead of sharing how I feel, and talking for a while,
I hide my feelings, worries, fears, deep down behind my smile.

"I'm fine," I say, not really thinking what is going on.
The reply, so automatic, just rolls right off the tongue.
And just as quickly, my next thought, is always, "How are you?"
And the other person quickly states that, "I am just fine, too."
Who are we kidding? We both know that today we've walked a mile.
Why can't I just share honestly what is behind my smile?

Well, here it is, here's what I'd say, if we both had the time:
My day began with hopes, with goals, with reason and with rhyme.
But then my daughter, on the spectrum, threw a major fit
About her clothes to wear to school; she said they "didn't fit."
And after solving that one, I prepared myself once more
To brush her tangly, redheaded mane, like many times before.

But then my son, intent on interrupting, came to say
He didn't want to make his lunch for school, nope, not today.
And so I told him firmly, YOU WILL MAKE YOUR LUNCH, that's right
Or you will be too hungry in your class, DON'T PICK A FIGHT!
Instead of kind obedience, I hear him angrily
Throw his shoes, his backpack, and then an evil glance at me.

Well, that would be enough to wipe a smile off my face,
But that does not include my little baby's cries and rage.
You see, every morning, this poor babe is placed inside
His playpen, screaming desperately, for someone to confide.
His cries are like the background noise that linger through the air
As I get my children off to school and FINALLY out of my hair.

Some might say this sounds just like an ordinary start
To any young mom's day; so why pick it all apart?
But trust me, I'm not finished yet, I've only just begun
To tell you why I'm not just "fine," there's really more than one;
One answer, yes, but not one feeling, or frustration, fear, or worry
If you can listen a little longer, I will try to hurry.

With my daughter on the spectrum, every day is up and down.
Every feeling that surrounds her makes her feel like she will drown.
Every new experience can send her into a panicked state
Every change or cancellation can make her most irate
But every challenge conquered gives her confidence and glee
And shows me that autism spectrum is not a disability.

With my oldest son, his challenges are of a different kind
His are upon his body and do not affect his mind.
Mastocytosis took its toll on him in infancy
And caused him to have spots upon his body, most you can't see.
But though most people do not know, he knows, and he believes
That his spots make him special; this is what I have perceived.

And my baby boy, he had my heart just hours after his birth
When I discovered that his trials would be many on this earth.
A bilateral cleft palate, bringing surgery and more
Trouble gaining weight, and feeding, and doctor visits galore.
Then came news of the duplication of Chromosome 22
But this just proved I've only seen a small part of what he can do.

And so you see, three children that I'm proud to call my own
Have challenges to face, which often make me feel alone.
Alone because no one can understand just what I face;
Alone because I often feel that I don't have a place.
So next time, when you ask me how I'm doing, you will know
That this is what's behind my smile that always seems to show.

I smile because I'm happy, yes, I'm trying hard to be.
I smile because I'm strong despite all the adversity.
I smile because though things are hard, I'm really not alone.
I smile because I know that in the end, my heavenly home
Will know my story, know my worries, and take them all from me
If I can just endure, and help my children be the best that they can be.

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