Last Friday I lost my work keys at work. The very keys that allow me to enter the building, the classroom, the cabinets. This is the golden key and I lost it while chasing good ole Henry. I had no doubt in my mind that the key was either in the gym or on the football size playground. I noticed the key was missing while I was trying to get Henry back into the classroom. Immediately I reported the key missing and as soon as Henry was safe and secure, I checked both the gym and playground. I could not find the key.
I came home and sent an “all staff” email explaining that I lost the key, and where I thought it may be. In return, I had many responses from staff members telling me they would keep an eye out for my key. Eventually, security had to be notified and it was just turning into a big mess. However, I knew without a shadow of a doubt I knew the key was somewhere on school property. I just knew it.
Six days later there was still no key. I was not giving up though. Once again we had gym. Even though the teacher assured me she checked the gym…..six days ago, I was not going to rest until I checked the mats on my own. So, while the class was enjoying their gym time, I turned the flashlight on my phone on and went to work. I picked up every single mat, used my flashlight to look under all mats. There was still no key.
Still, I was not giving up. It did not matter to me that I had lost the key six days ago. I knew it could be anywhere. However, I felt it in my soul that the key was on the school grounds.
At the end of the day, we took the kids out to to the “Big Playground” for some quiet recess time. As always, I was with Henry. We hung out and did our own thing, which consisted mostly of me following him around. As I said earlier, this is a giant playground. Not even kidding, the size of a football field. Henry made his way to the grass, and I was right behind him. Just like always.
I found the key. I was following Henry and right there on the shiny green grass was the key. I was in shock. I picked up the key, showed Henry and said: “This was an act of God.” Henry was not impressed.
The key was on the field for six days. Children had recess all day long on that field, and yet I found the key six days later. I knew it was an act of God. I just knew it in my soul.
My fellow co-workers were amazed that I found the key. Some even said it was a miracle, and really, they are correct.
This coming week, I have a battle ahead of me. Unfortunately, I can not be too specific. Not yet anyway. Here is what I can say. Whatever outcome happens, I will be okay. I will be affected, but at the end of the day, I will be okay. And, I do not mean that in some sort of motivational way. I mean literally, I will be okay. I have options. My ideal outcome will happen, or the less ideal outcome will happen, but I will be okay.
This battle I feel is not my story. I do not know how to adequately explain it in a way that will not get me in trouble. I feel that this is someone else’s story and I am just a secondary character that is needed to move the story along. Although I will say, no matter how small my part is in this story, it is an important one.
I feel this just as strongly as I felt that my key was still at the school. I feel it in my soul. I know I have this battle ahead of me. And, I am willing to fight it because what’s right is right what’s wrong is wrong, but at the end of the day, someone else, actually, quite a few people will be affected by the outcome, whichever outcome it may be.
So, I have about four days to prepare for this battle. The more I prepare, the more frustrated, nervous, empowered I feel. Because it does not matter that no matter the outcome I will be okay, some of the other “characters” may not be, and for me, that is worth the fight.
So, I ask you to oblige me with this open letter. This “Open Letter” is part of my armor I need to prepare for battle.
To Whom it may concern:
I know your decision has most likely been made. I realize that this meeting that consists of five people who have never said more than three words to me is more to appease me than anyone else. But, for the next few minutes, I ask that you put politics aside and dig deep into your heart.
I have always been told to keep emotion and personal stories out of these types of meetings. Just like I have done most of my life, I am going to go against the grain and bring personal experiences and emotions into this because for once, I feel it may benefit the situation.
As respectful as I can be I have to say you are making a big mistake, and this mistake will only hurt those who you claim to have the best interest of. I ask of you, I challenge you to spend one day in my shoes. Before you make your final decision I want you to see firsthand those who will suffer. This is not a black and white situation. There are plenty of grey areas, and I am that grey area. I need you to familiarize yourself with the world of autism. I need you to understand, I need you to feel it in your soul how big of a set back your potential decision can have on a group, especially one in particular.
I realize that politics are involved. I ask you to go against the grain. I ask you to take a chance, I ask you to take off your badge and look at the situation for what it is. I know that we as a team are better than this. Hear my voice, let me show you, there is a better way.
I say this not for sympathy but as fact. I am the mother of an autistic child. I have fought these battles for the last 13 years and I will continue to fight. Isn’t that what you want? Someone familiar with the war on your front line?
With my armor on and thirteen years of experience under my belt, I ask you to reconsider. I have fought for my own daughter, and now, now it is my chance to fight for the others. I ask that you allow me to bring home win.