Yes, I’m Scared for My Son’s Life
As an African-American mother of three sons, my mind has been on all the happens around the country regarding “Black Lives”. When Trayvon Martin was gunned down in his prime I wore a sweatshirt in his honor, I even included my kids. When I finally brought myself to watch Fruitvale Station, my heart broke for that mother who had to bury her son, and this summer of course my eyes were on Ferguson, MO. When the decision was made in November I watched as that whole city burned by the hands of their citizens. Honestly some of it I didn’t understand at all and some totally made sense to me. I’ve followed all the #BlackLivesMatter hashtags and being that most of my friends list on Facebook are people who are African-American, I saw status, after status from people who wanted their voices heard about their feelings. I’ve always wanted a son and honestly I am very thankful I only have one daughter (lol). I have to say God knew what he was doing when he trusted me with raising three boys. Yes, I’m scared for my son’s life but maybe not the same way as some of the people I saw posting online is. My middle son J.B. (affectionately know as the toddler monster) was diagnosed with Autism this summer. He’s three and non-verbal and every day I fear for his life.
While I have no idea what path any of my son’s will take, I hope they wouldn’t end up in any situations that could cause them to have run ins with law enforcement. It’s my hope as a parent that I teach them to do what is right and to avoid situations that could get them in trouble. I don’t feel scared when I hear about some of these national headlines because I know that in my case my sons have a greater chance of being hurt by someone in their own community before someone in law enforcement and in the case of J.B., I fear I have for him in this case is even higher.
I’m scared that he may play to rough with the wrong child and that causes him to be a target by parents and other children.
I’m scared that he’ll be bullied and if he never gets words, he’ll suffer in silence.
I’m scared that his silence could be seen as a sign of disrespect and he gets handled wrong.
I’m scared he’ll only be seen as a bad child if he throws a tantrum in frustration. I could never know what it’s like being in his shoes, not being able to talk, to share how he feels to get nothing out.
I’m scared when people hear his screeching while we’re out they’ll judge him and make fun of him.
I’m scared his playful and trusting nature could get him kidnapped.
I’m scared he’ll be abused in school and I’ll never know.
I’m scared he’ll touch a stranger who doesn’t understand his triggers and they get upset and angry with him. And when that stranger gets angry and he starts to scream that it will create a huge scene.
I’m scared to take him on play dates because he doesn’t understand his own strength.
I’m scared if he did have a run in with police that they would think he’s a threat from his behavior.
I’m scared I’ll die too soon because no one is going to love and care for him like I do.
I’m scared that a simple misunderstanding with anyone could cause him his life. This isn’t just about law enforcement either, it’s the parent of an angry child, a stranger who wants an easy target, a care taker that wants to take advantage of him, other children, just about anyone. Yes, I’m scared for my son’s life but my worry doesn’t stop with law enforcement. I don’t look at situations like Ferguson and NY and think my son is less safe because of it. He’s less safe for lots of reasons, his Autism and him being non-verbal comes with a whole different set of worries. My biggest fear with him is always going to be connected to people who don’t know about him and how they deal with him. There isn’t anything I can do about how people treat him, all I can do is be the best mom I can be to him. To love him and show him that he’ll always be loved, to try to protect him from as much hurt and pain as I can and to help him understand as much as he can that he’s especially puzzling and unique. All I can be is hopeful and sometimes scared.