It was a long time before I would admit that there was something different about Cooper. He was my baby, my first born, and I was scared about what it could be. While we don’t have an “official” autism diagnosis we call it that, and that is how we base things. I remember the first time he had his blood drawn, we both cried the whole way home. With every needle prick, new diagnosis, new medication, my love for my baby boy grew and grew. At one point I wondered if I could actually love him more than I already did.
*It is astounding how much love a mother’s heart is capable of.
Cooper’s language has always been very sparse, he would pick up certain phrases which he would repeat over and over. I had never really thought about it until I was talking with another autism mom that told me about how she had never heard her son say “mom” or “I love you”, and she had finally come to a realization that she never would. Cooper had never vocally said mom or dad, but he knew how to sign them, and he understood what the words meant. He didn’t know how to sign I love you, and I was coming to realize that he might never say that to me.
It broke my heart to think that Cooper might not ever be able to tell me that he loves me. With how much I love my little guy, and how often I told him that I love him, he might never be able to say it back. It is amazing the little things you take for granted everyday that you don’t even realize. Hearing my own flesh and blood say I love you was one of those things. We worked with him everyday to help him with his language, his vocabulary continues to expand daily; but he still wouldn’t (or couldn’t) say “I love you”.
As we hit milestone after milestone I told myself that I would never forget these days. But here we are, Cooper is 6 years old, and I couldn’t tell you dates of any of the developments! All I can remember is Cooper was in preschool, around 4 years old, when out of the blue he looked and me and said “I love you”.
*Really it’s more like “Ove you”, but I will take it!
I was so shocked, that I just sat there for a minute. Then I just started crying as I held him and told him that I love him too! Now he will run up to me, hug me, and tell me that he loves me. I love it and him!