Wishing On Stars

I’m trying not to obsess over signs that my daughter, Evie, is on the way to finding her own words. Not scripting, echoing or repeating; I mean her own feelings, her own thoughts, expressed in her own words.

She’ll be five in November, and despite being a chatter box of sorts, she’s considered nonverbal. She isn’t able to communicate verbally outside of our home, with people who don’t know her like we do.

Evie told me she loved me the month before last.

Can you imagine my shock?

Part of me feels like it’s dangerous to write about this. Maybe admitting my pseudo wish on paper, this wish I’ve never even dared share with a star, will shake me awake from a dream.

Her magic words were spoken the day after a really hard one that involved a public meltdown. I was feeling particularly anxious and defeated because of my struggle to keep her safe through it. 

It’s so strange how one day to the next can be so drastically different with Autism, because this next day held in it’s palm my secret wish and offered it like a gift of amends after the solid kick to the gut I received the one before. 

In stark contrast, this day was filled with sunshine, dancing, and smooth transitions.

We went inside from the great outdoors; I got her settled with a snack in her room and asked her what she wanted to watch on TV.

‘Do you want to watch Dora…or Five Little Monkeys?’ 

A pause, then bouncing, then a sing-song voice more to herself than me, ‘…jumping on the bed…’ 

I was impressed; Evie repeating the next phrase instead of echoing part of a question is a win for us.

I was searching for the right Little Baby Bum episode on YouTube when I heard it. Soft, but out loud in the rare quiet of our house. 

‘I luff you.’

I turned to her in disbelief. Did I just imagine that?? She bounced on the spot, proud. 

It happened, she said it, I heard it!

I let myself believe, and I held back tears as I gushed that I loved her too, that I knew how hard she worked to get those words out to me, words all her own. I was so proud of her!

But she wasn’t done.

She looked at me again, her body calm, still for once. She spoke with a small, clear voice holding no hint of her signature sing-song tone:

‘I love you Mom.’

Her words were completely unfiltered. I can’t even name what emotion I felt. It was more like every feeling all at once.

I didn’t want to overwhelm Evie with my own reaction (shock!!) so I tickled her belly instead of trying to talk through tears and we just giggled together. 

She came close to me and used her hands to position my mouth into a big toothy smile, leaning in so her forehead touched mine and she smiled her own wide grin to match.

Our faces mirrored joy.

Suddenly, sharply, Evie’s attention veered to follow the sound of the music as those monkeys started jumping on TV. 

The spell was broken.

I got up, dazed, and went to the bathroom for a quick cry. 

Then I took a deep breath, smiled in the mirror, and joined Evie in her room to belt out nursery rhymes with her. 

My eyes swam with emotion, twinkling like the stars I vowed to be brave enough to wish upon from then on, and my heart swelled with hope. 

Written by, Jill Kakoske

Jill Kakoske is wife, middle school teacher, lover of pets and Mom to one daughter, Evie, who is Autistic. She lives in small town Saskatchewan, Canada, and enjoys spending time reading, relaxing with friends and family and writing about her experiences being Evie‘s mom. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook under Evie The Explorer or check out her website www.evietheexplorer.com 

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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, 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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