The Backstory to “When he Outgrew Cute.”

A few years ago, after a particularly difficult day with 15-year-old Lucas, I sat down and wrote a poem.  A poem that would end up going viral and reaching over 7 million people.  A poem that people resonated with from around the world. A poem I called “When He Outgrew Cute.”  Many have asked for the backstory of this poem.  Here’s a synopsis of the day.  





Oct 5, 2020

The day the poem was written. 

The kids and I ventured to the park on this beautiful fall break day. Luke usually loves this idea and welcomes a mid-afternoon break.

I put his socks and shoes on, made his juice, and walked him to the van.

Once there, the kids excitedly exited the van, and I encouraged Luke to join –

“Come on Luke! Let’s go Whee!”  I coaxed.

He screamed bloody hell and reached up to grab my hair.

I ducked just in time.

I tried again as a crowd at the nearby picnic table shot me compassionate looks or avoided looking at me altogether.

“Luke, let’s walk. You love to walk, remember?”

He began circling the van, around and around and around he went like a tiger trapped in a cage, searching each window for a way in, screaming as he paced –


He began to brutally yank on door handles, windshield wipers, and his mother’s body – willing each and every person around him to comply or pay the price.

A nearby father quickly grabbed his young son’s hand and moved away from the disturbance – the power struggle between a mama and her 15-year-old child.

“LUCAS AARON,” I hissed, “Do not ruin this for everyone.”

He didn’t care and instead reached for my arm and pulled me down onto the hot asphalt where we sat, and he screamed and stimmed, inconsolable and only wanting what made sense to him and no one else.

Only wanting to return home to his favorite brown chair with his favorite blue-covered iPad.  Only that and nothing else.

I sat beside him; fighting back tears. I sat there and remembered my once sweet little boy who was now an aggressive teenager and not so sweet if truth be told. I contemplated his future; our future. I contemplated all of the “what if’s and what if nots”

And then I rose.

“Alright. You win”

I whispered and opened the van door, admitting defeat only ten minutes later.

I hollered to my other children who were running and playing and laughing –

“Sorry kids, Luke’s done. Time to go home. We’ll try again tomorrow.”

This is exhaustion.

This is despair.

This is anxiety.

This is isolation for special needs families.

10 minutes x 24 hours x every day with no end in sight.

And –

Tomorrow we rise again and face a new day, and we hope for a better outcome. We hope our children get to play for more than 10 minutes, and we hope for answers and maybe one tiny win.

We just keep livin’.

The poem in its entirety can be found pinned to the top of my Facebook Page.

To learn more about our story, check out my three books!


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