My Son, You Showed Me That I Was Stronger Than Autism

A Letter to my son Daniel:

 It’s hard to believe you are already fourteen months old, as it feels like just yesterday I was holding you in my arms for the first time. I know you are still a baby but I hope to read you this letter one day when you can better understand it all.

Watching you grow and reach exciting milestones this past year has healed my heart in so many ways and brought so much joy to my life. You are always smiling and laughing and I swear you follow directions at only 1 year old. You can master new skills with such ease it amazes me.

I will never forget the first time you reached for me and said “mama” clear as day at 11 months old. I burst out in tears because it was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard in my life. I had waited and anticipated that one word for so long.

I worked on that word with your sister for a whole year. She finally said “Mama” at 2.5 years old and I held on to that single word since I had no idea how many words she would master yet.

You see, before you were born every day was one big blur, probably because I never slept longer than two hours at a time. My goal was just to make it thru the day with as few tantrums, tears, and meltdowns as possible. Motherhood was one struggle after the next, and honestly there was very little joy to balance it out.

Your sister and I spent most of our time isolated in the house because going out in public always ended in disaster and embarrassment. I didn’t know what it was like to have a fun day at the park, or a peaceful lunch outing. I was consumed by appointments, early intervention services, exhaustion and frustration.

Then you came along and changed how I viewed motherhood. You showed me there was peace, and joy around every corner. You wake up with the biggest smile on your face, which gives me strength to face another day. You were such an easy baby compared to your sister. Your laugh is contagious. You were the calm in the chaos that was the last two years of life.

 You were only four months old when your sister was diagnosed with Autism. I remember the psychologist speaking those words, “My diagnoses is autism!” I immediately broke down in tears and I didn’t stop crying until I heard you wake from your nap. I opened your door and saw your sweet innocent face. I picked you up and was in awe at how perfect you were.

I knew I had to be strong for you guys! In fact, you showed me that I was stronger than autism!

 The day we went to school to register your sister for ESE Pre-K I was a bit emotional to say the least. I couldn’t believe I was entrusting complete strangers to take care of my precious three year old all day. However you were secretly giggling to yourself in your car seat. You probably knew you were about to get time with me and just me for 6 hours a day.

Buddy, I never knew what a huge blessing Pre-K would be for you and I.

Aside from the amazing progress your sister made in just a few short months of school, you and I were able to build a bond that I never knew possible. I cherished every moment with you. We can do whatever we want!

We have baby play dates, and go on spontaneous outings and adventures together, something I was never able to do with your sister. Our days are filled with laughter, games, playing in the dirt and occasionally eating ice cream out of the carton.  I will always cherish this one on one time I get with you, and it goes by way too quickly.

Once we pick your sister up from school I know much of my energy and attention is focused on her. Know that I long for those quiet afternoons just you and I.  On the craziest of days they are what get me through and help me see the beauty in motherhood and in life!

 Your sister has made tremendous progress in the last year.  She can communicate now and we are able to go out as a family and enjoy the world around us. Something I will never take for granite.

Truthfully, those feelings of anxiety and isolation still haunt me to this day. However, sweet boy, I am so blessed that you are mine. You are the perfect addition to our family, and the best thing that has ever happened to me.

My son, you are my light on the darkest days, and for that I thank you!

Written by, Caitlyn Viviano

My name is Caitlyn Viviano. I a military spouse and Mom to a 3 year old daughter named Chloe, and 1 year old son named Daniel. I enjoy shopping alone, writing, baking, and drinking wine. I recently started a blog, Sassy on the Spectrum, to share my life after my daughter’s diagnosis.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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