A beautiful thing happened last night. A dream that I had long given up on came true; my son said, “I love you, mama.” to me completely on his own!
He’s said it before with prompting, or copying his sisters, but never on his own.
I was laying down with him, trying to help him sleep, gave him a kiss on the forehead and he said it.
“I love you, mama.”
His bed may have been cramped, what with sharing it with every stuffy in the room, and crazy hot (he sleeps with a heavy sleeping bag AND a weighted denim blanket) but in that moment, there was no where in the world I would have rather been.
I can remember the first time my girls uttered the same phrase, and it was heartwarming and special and one of those moments that I treasured in my heart. I’m not trying to downplay their accomplishments, but I knew the moments would come with them, it was just a matter of “when”. With my boy, it has always been an “if”.
Two weeks ago was another leap.
One of the most heartbreaking aspects of where my son is on the spectrum, is his inability to communicate pain and sickness. Again, the girls can tell me if it’s a tummy ache or a scraped knee. With him, however, if I can’t actually see the incident it’s little more than a guessing game. This particular day, he was upset about a “boo-boo” – not uncommon. I asked, as I always do if I can’t see it, where the boo-boo was. I expected him to simply restate that he was suffering from a boo-boo when he surprised me again.
“On my arm.”
This ability to explain his pain has just opened up a whole new world to our family. No more guesses (well, not as many), no more frustration. He can say it and I can help him!
Your child’s stumbling block may not be words. Perhaps it’s trying a new food, sitting in a waiting room and NOT needing the iPad, tolerating a public event without headphones on. Whatever it may be, celebrate each tiny victory as though your child has just won Olympic gold. Quite likely, he/she has worked harder to reach this milestone than many medalists!
In a month from now, when the memory has faded and this new step is part of everyday life, remember it when your child seems to be reverting. Those days when you’re exhausted from the fight. When your already shattered heart sustains more damage because it’s just not fair that someone so wonderful should have to work so very hard to do the things everyone else takes for granted. On those hard days, remember the good. Don’t just remember what he achieved that day, remember his smile because he KNEW what a breakthrough he’d made. Remember that for that moment, your heart was whole and soaring.
Remember that moment and start looking ahead to the next one. Never stop dreaming big, big dreams for your kids.
Remember that the victories you’ve already had, you probably never expected. The one you’re not expecting in the future will happen.
It’s coming, mama.