Previous Aprils have had down-in-the-dumps. That’s happened when new autism rates were announced and when the media turned a blind eye to why the rates increased. From what I’ve read over the last four weeks, the media has been somewhat silent on autism and vaccines. They haven’t been as hard on parents like me either. As the parent of a vaccine injured child who won’t stop talking about a vaccine-autism link, I’ll gladly take the break!
Getting a break has been refreshing. So has been choosing new songs to share during this year’s autism action month. Like every April for the last few years, I rely on my music to get me through the month. I listen to it on good days, on bad days, and on in between days, too.
Here’s a short playlist of my latest go-to music. Each song is dedicated to a certain group of people. If I’ve left anyone out, my apologies. If you have a song that you want to share, especially if it’s one that will get me and my kids dancing in the kitchen, please post it in the comments below. I’d love to take a listen to what inspires you.
Bringin’ on the Heartbreak by Def Leppard
This song is for the Mom or Dad who is stuck - stuck thinking about how hard this is, how overwhelming this is, and how heartbreaking this is. It is hard, it is overwhelming, and some days, it absolutely can be heartbreaking. I know that because I sometimes live it. But I believe that things can eventually get better. On days that things don’t get better as quickly as I’d like, monster ballads like this one get cranked up really loudly.
Kid Heart by ToddZero
For the parent who’s in the midst of frustrations and struggles, push through. I know, easier said than done. It may not seem possible in this very moment, but I have a feeling you will find your way again. Draw on your strengths. And if you fall down, don’t forget to get back up.
This is for the parent who has fought back but who keeps falling down. I know it’s tough. Believe me, I know. But hey, mama, get back up. It’s not over yet. Please, don’t dream it’s over.
One Call Away by Charlie Puth
Years ago, I had a friend who was suicidal. When we’d go stretches without getting the chance to see each other, I’d randomly get the urge to call her. I used to joke and say that was the Holy Spirit tapping me on the shoulder telling me to call, “Hey, Cat, she needs a little boost. Things aren’t going so well right now. Take a minute to give her a quick call.” Sometimes I’d ignore that little tap on my shoulder though. If I did that, I’d soon get a slap upside the head, “CAT, CALL HER. NOW!” and would finally made the call. It would be then that I’d discover that yes, things were awful for my friend. And each time I’d call, the friend would say, “I have no idea how you knew I needed to hear from you, but…you knew.” This song is for the warrior mama who senses that another warrior mama or papa needs a quick phone call. Sweet friends, when you sense that feeling, promise me that you’ll make the call.
‘Till The End of Time by Perry Como
This song is for the grandparents who picked up the pieces and are now caring for their grandchild with autism. For our AofA grandparent readers, especially for Granny Blue, my wish is that the love you have for your grandchild will extend beyond the end of time.
Don’t Bring Me Down by ELO
For the parent who’s about to get lectured by the pediatrician, my best advice is to stay strong. Be brave! Don’t let anyone, especially someone doesn’t have you or child’s best interest in mind, bring you down.
God’s Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash
For that pediatrician who prefers to fire parents instead of help them, for that educator/administrator who’s more worried about saving money than providing appropriate education, and to that politician who’s a rotten, greedy sunofgun, this one’s for you.
Heavy by Linkin Park and Kiiara
This one is for the siblings, like Ronan’s, who, despite the many ups and downs they’ve witnessed, keep putting one foot in front of the other. They hold onto hope. They keep smiling. They stay faithful. They, like so many other siblings, do all of that selflessly and with only the purest of love in their hearts.
Believer by Imagine Dragons
And finally, the last song. This one is for me, from Ronan’s siblings. Ronan’s older sister and younger brother heard this when it first came out. Both came to be separately and told me that it reminded them so much of me. They said it made them think of how much faith I have in Ronan and that they believe in their brother because of how much I believe in him. I was speechless. I was humbled. I was, and remain, grateful for these beautiful souls who’ve been entrusted to me.
So, that’s a wrap. Do share what keeps your toes tapping on a good day and what turns on the water works on a tough day. And don’t forget – every day here is a great day for some autism action, and every day is a good day to turn up the volume and let the music in.
Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.