I Thought I Heard my Nonverbal Son Call for Mommy

I can count on one hand all the times that I have dreamt of Zachary talking in my dreams. You would think since my son is four years old and has nonverbal autism that I would be constantly dreaming of his little voice.

At this point I think I subconsciously put a wall up in that area. Those dreams are so vivid, so beautiful, and feel so real.

As I start to wake up from those dreams I sense myself being so unbelievably happy, and then I become fully awake and incredibly heartbroken.

It is always just a dream.

It’s Sunday morning; the house is cold and I’m the first one awake.

Shortly after, I hear giggling from the other room. I haven’t even gotten out of bed yet and I know it is Zachary that is awake giggling in his room. Things like this make him still look like such a sweet little baby.

He will never climb out of his bed until someone goes in and gets him. He will stay there and play around in his bed until my husband, or I, or even my 2 year old goes in there and helps him out of his bed.

It always reminds me of him as a baby playing in his crib when he woke up from his naps.

Zachary and his younger brother Landon share a room. I open the door, its dark and I don’t see Zachary until he pops up on his bed, and starts giggling again. He is by far the happiest child I know in the morning. So I quietly and quickly go in to get Zachary without disturbing his brother.

I bring him into the living room and turn on the television. We sit together on the couch, cuddled under a blanket. I finally get up from the couch and walk to the kitchen to make coffee. I’m facing my sink, while I’m washing the coffee pot.

Then I hear it… that little voice, “Mommy.”

My heart is racing and I’m scared to turn around. Is this the moment that I have been waiting for?

Four and a half years of just waiting to hear anything, and today I hear the word “Mommy.” Out of all the words that could have been said in that moment, it was “Mommy” that was said.

You hear those stories all the time in the autism community. Someone’s child woke up one day and just started speaking. I place the coffee pot in the sink and think I’m one of those stories.

I turn around and it’s my sweet, nuerotypical 2 year old, Landon. “Mommy,” he says again. “Can you sit on the couch with me?”

My world is constantly in this bittersweet war within itself. My heart sinks and flies all at once.

It wasn’t Zachary, my nonverbal child who called my name today.

At the same time hearing Landon call my name still makes my heart flutter in joy. I know in life each child is different, and you parent differently as well. I have learned not to take the small things, like saying “Mommy” for granted.

I know one day my 2 year old won’t ask to sit on the couch with me, so I try to just live in that moment and enjoy it.

That night I’m in the middle of preparing dinner. Zachary reaches up to grab my hand. His tiny hand takes mine and leads me into the living room. He takes me to the couch, brings the remote control for the television and a blanket.

Zachary plops himself next to me, covers both of us in the blanket and hands me the remote. I realized you don’t need any words to know that your child wants you to sit with them on the couch and watch a movie.

Again, I just try to live in that moment and enjoy it.

Written by, Melissa Owsiany

I’m a nurse, wife and mom to two wonderful boys Zachary, who has autism, and Landon.

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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 our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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  • Valerie

    October 25, 2018 at 12:03 pm
    Reply

    It's heartbreaking when you don't get to hear a child say mom, mama, ma...whichever. My baby is nine months old and is saying the early […] Read MoreIt's heartbreaking when you don't get to hear a child say mom, mama, ma...whichever. My baby is nine months old and is saying the early "mama, mama, mama" but it doesn't yet mean ME to her. While her older sister cannot say it even in that way. I long to hear her say it I have to constantly battle the emotions that come from that. She is twenty-eight months tomorrow and her speech is declining; she is dropping words and signs, more and more each week. :( I play games with her and she is trying, I can see it! But the progress isn't there. ((hugs)) to us all!! Read Less

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