I saw you at Blackpool zoo last week out of the corner of my eye.
I noticed you stood with your curly haired, bright eyed boy who must have been a similar age to my daughter, I saw him wearing reins and I instinctively knew.
I knew that you were like me and your boy was like my daughter.
I watched you both for a moment with a smile on my face.
I approached you and asked you about the reins, I hadn’t even considered reins before never mind seen them, we talked albeit briefly. I didn’t just ask you about the reins because I could have done with some, I spoke to you because I wanted you to know you were not alone and that you may at times feel like nobody even knows you are there, but I knew, you may at times feel lonely but you are not alone. I didn’t want you to feel like I have in the past, on high alert and either completely invisible and alone or exposed and vulnerable and seldom in between.
You were lead away by your boy and I was lead away by my daughter but we ended up stood next to each other again. I simply nodded my head towards our kids and said ‘hard work isn’t it?’, you told me your boy had autism and looked surprised when I told you the wide eyed, smiley, giggling girl on the climbing frame, my daughter, had autism too.
We spoke briefly before our children had other ideas and you went to the left and we went to the right.
In the ten minutes I saw and spoke to you I observed a mum who was doing everything she could to make her son happy, a mum who had her other kids with her and was juggling everyone’s needs and wants whilst disregarding her own, a mum who didn’t have time to sit or stand despite being tired, a mum who comforted her son having a meltdown in a room full of people, I saw a mum who was calm despite the fact your son was pulling you here, there and everywhere, I observed how you followed your sons lead and didn’t try to make him follow yours or move him on to something new, an amazing mum, a selfless mum, a mum doing what all mums do and even more besides.
I want you to know I saw you. I want to thank you for talking to me, for reminding me how important it is to see the world through our children’s eyes.
I want you to know from one autism mother to another that you’re doing an amazing job, you only need to look at your boy to see that – you’ve got this!

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