Growing Older Together

Yesterday, I had an out of body experience.

I was walking along the river with my son Cooper and my husband. We had to get him out of the house, which has been nearly impossible to do since COVID.

As we walked along, I held his hand. Every few seconds he would pull it away from me to do something on his iPad or point to a duck or flap his arms happily or hold two fingers up to remind me that his Amazon should be here today. I would reach my hand back in once he was done and we would hold hands again. A mother and son.

During the short walk he sat down twice. He pretended to jump in the river a dozen times, always to get a rise out of me. He ran. He strolled. He danced. He yelled at me once. He even had some aggressive behavior.

I did most of the talking. Praising him. Because he was doing a wonderful job. I told him his shoes were on the wrong feet and he giggled. I kissed his forehead and gave him deep squeezes. I talked him off the proverbial ledge a dozen times, all to keep him moving. Safely. Happily. He hummed and walked along at his own pace.

This is our life. This is our autism. And then the out of body experience happened.

I saw us. Clearly. A nearly middle aged mother walking with her nearly 10 year old son, along a river. A mother keeping her son safe, holding onto him. Hugging him and kissing him often. Tickling his sides. Whispering in his ear. Holding his hand. We didn’t blend in. If anything, we stood out.

I felt sad for a brief second and let myself wonder how we got right here. Not knowing how to safely walk or how to talk. Wondering how we got to 37 and nearly 10, when time felt frozen for so many years. And wondering why.

I let the other emotions wash over me, quickly. Worry. Doubt. Fear. Tears sprang to the corners of my eyes.

And then Cooper touched my face and pointed to his ear. He heard a train whistle. He threw his head back and laughed with unbelievable joy. I looked at us again. And one emotion came through. Love. So much love.

We are getting older, this kid and I. And I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily getting any easier but good golly I am grateful for him. And for the love and color he has brought into my life.

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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