It had been a day and I was tired. All I wanted was to announce bedtime, then crawl into my own bed and binge-watch something mind-numbing. But I knew that tomorrow would go better with just a little prep work.

My 6-year-old had a birthday party to attend right after school the next day. So I rallied just a little longer. I got him to help me wrap the gift so there wouldn’t be a last-minute panic later. I used the last drop of patience I had to get him to help me cut, fold, and tape. I had him make a hand-made card in his own handwriting. Then we stuck the card and a mini happy-face balloon to the gift as the perfect final touch. Done.

I announced bedtime, and the pajama-changing, teeth-brushing, stuffie-finding, and philosophical-question-answering began.

Finally, I made my escape and made a bee-line for my own room.

But not before I noticed something.

Something orange.

Stuck to the gift we had just wrapped, was a bright orange post-it. My oldest son, who is 9-years-old and autistic had added his own touch to the gift by writing a note to the birthday girl.

“That’s kind of cute, actually,” I thought. “I’ll just move it inside the card beside his brother’s note…”

Nope. He had taped it down. On all four sides. I tried to wiggle it free, but it was apparent that I wasn’t getting that note off without ripping the paper and ruining the hard-worked-for wrapping job. It bugged me.

“He didn’t even ask,” my thoughts said loudly, “It’s like he has no concept that just maybe his input wasn’t wanted this time!”

And then I paused. And I heard the words my mind had just said.

He has no concept of a world where his input isn’t wanted by his own family inside his own house.

Oh. My. Goodness. What a beautiful thing.

Autism Awareness & Acceptance month is drawing to a close. A whole month of encouraging everyone to be a little more inclusive, a little more patient, a little more understanding. A whole month dedicated to creating a world where autistic people can live their lives without fear of bullying and judgment. Let’s be real here: a month like this is just as much for family and friends as it is for the world at large. We all need to be reminded again and again and again to be a little more patient, and a little more accepting of the differences that make our loved ones themselves.

I failed there for a moment, but I am so thankful that my tired mom-brain caught on to what that note was telling me. It was telling me that my son feels safe here. That, at least around his mommy, daddy, and brother, he feels that his input is wanted. That he is valued. That he is free to be himself. I am so relieved and honored that this is true.

We sent the gift to the party unaltered. Orange note and all. It turns out it wasn’t ruined after all–it was enhanced by a little boy with big heart who wanted to celebrate a friend. What could be better than that?

© 2023 Ashley Lilley – First time commenting? Please read my Comment Policy.

2 thoughts on “The Orange Post-It

  1. And Mom, good being like Jesus moments! You were thinking and doing beyond your ability and the Spirit (our helper) was helping.


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