His Secret World

This has always been our special place.

It’s the one place I could bring both boys from an early age. It’s the one place that my nonstop moving boy would sit.

He would be still. Sifting sand. And my younger son could play too, finding friends within seconds.

And I could stop holding my breath. Even just for a minute.

Cooper would look at the beach and choose a spot as far away from the kids as possible.

He’d hunch over. And enter his happy place.

Sawyer would look at us and look at the kids playing.

I’d always feel torn. Sitting near Cooper in his secret world while my other son joined families on their towels.

But we didn’t come here for friends. We came here for the sand.

Long before my son saw toys and peers and even me sometimes…he saw sand.

He’d spend hours sitting here, picking up handfuls, and letting it sift through his spread fingers.

Kids would be playing all around him. His brother included. Building sandcastles and moats. Splashing in the water. Carrying buckets too and from. Make believe queens and kings and dragons.

Cooper would pay them no attention.

He would hold up his sand and study it. Almost as if he saw every grain individually.

He’d smell it. Taste it. Throw it against play structures just to hear the ting-ting sound. Rub it on his cheek and giggle. Babble away as if telling a story.

I’d watch him and selfishly think…I wish he’d look at me or his brother that way.

I’d study him, immersed in his own world, and pray to God that I could enter it at some point. I’d sit down next to him, offer to dig a hole or build a castle and he’d push me away. I couldn’t see what he was seeing. I’d try though. I’d sift the sand through my hands. Studying it. Wondering.

Just let me inside I’d think. Let me join your world. Like a secret club where the password is hearing sounds in the wind and seeing faces in the clouds.

It’s not just sand he notices. It’s leaves and trees and blades of grass. The sky, clouds and the sun and moon too.

He studies the veins in leaves. And the texture of a stick just before he throws it. He screams into the wind and catches raindrops in his hand.

Sometimes I wonder if he sees things I do not. In his secret world. The colors brighter, the sounds louder.

Cooper is 8, almost 9 now. His brother is older too. Still fighting imaginary dragons with a stick. Cooper still studies the sand in the same way.

Only now, I sit next to him. Quietly. Just happy to be near him. Oh how some things change and some stay exactly the same.

Go check out my Instagram story (findingcoopersvoice) for some fantastic video from our hike. I promise you’ll smile.

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, subscribe for exclusive videos, 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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