Six other women and myself are sitting at an oval table in a brightly lit room known as the POW office, aka Parents of Westview. We are all mothers, mothers laughing at the travails of parenthood, at all the normal, wonderful, awful stuff it's fun to share, then the subject of allergy diets and doctors arises and the pleasant spell is broken. My mind quickly scans the table for distraction, embraces an inanimate organizer, its familiar utility, the solid black metal, the benign group of cylinder shapes containing normal items such as pencils, small scissors, rulers, pens. It reminds me of school, the smell of erasers, carefree days of cigar boxes full of brand new supplies and childhood bliss, then the harsh metal reality hits me. I feel myself sliding backwards, slamming into the shock stage of grief once again as a tiny cruel voice reminds me, You are here because your son is here, in a place that is not normal, in a school for autistic children. The other mothers are still laughing when I return, and I tiptoe, careful not to wake them.