He is wiggling in his seat

and not the good kind of wiggle


It’s the kind that let’s me know

all hell is about to break loose


“It’s okay baby,” I purr

as we pull out of the driveway

but his wiggles turn to whines

and I turn to the deep breathing I rely on

to keep my blood pressure down during times like these


“We’re almost there!” I enthusiastically inform him

but he answers with more whining

and begins to kick

the passenger side backseat


“Use your words, I coax him

though the several dozen approximations he has

are insufficient to express what he wants, what he needs,

and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out


he’s telling me to go to hell

in his own way


“Quiet mouth,” I gently request

turning to my least favorite weapon in my Parent Ed arsenal


I always have a hard time justifying

asking my non-verbal son to be silent


But his whines get stronger



lasting all the way to therapy

all the way to the library

all the way to Target

all the way back home



“Shut.Up.” I think to myself

“Shut.Up!!!!” I scream on the inside

as I park the car in the driveway

and bury my face in my hands


“Shut up.Shut up.Shut up.


I let the awful words swirl in my head

fill up my heart

course through my veins

until they lose their meaning

and don’t sound so awful anymore


I am no longer afraid

of admitting

that there are times

in this LIFE

of autism

of epilepsy

of stupid cystic fibrosis

that I think








I AM afraid

of what would happen

(because I KNOW what would happen)

if I pretended

that everything was


Norman F-ing Rockwell Painting



a hearty


uttered in the confines

of a broken heart determined to stay sober and free

is just what

this mama







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2 Replies to “Shut.Up.”

  1. I relate to this so much, but it’s just the noises and whining my 4 y/o is still non verbal. The melt down today was Epic and over something so stupid I wanted to scream but I have to keep my wits, then I go cry in my bathroom alone.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh Jo…words fail me. You are my living, breathing hero and inspiration for motherhood at its very best. You take all that life throws your way–never ever giving up…always loving your family in honest and equal carvings of discipline and love. The ensuing sculpture is incredibly beautiful.

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