Our Silent Journey

My sweet boy,

We just got back from a car ride. We do that sometimes. You and me. We used to ride around to help you calm down. A much needed break for both of us to reset.

Now we drive around and hunt for trains.

Not a lot has changed over the years except now you are ten. And you can buckle your own seatbelt. A skill we worked on for years. A skill that you are incredibly proud of.

We still ride mostly in silence. When you were three, the experts told me you were nonverbal. At age four, they told me to prepare for a life without words. At age five they told me game over.

I remember the finality in each of those statements. Like a book slamming down on your future. The book of you apparently already written.

The silence used to eat me up kid. It was deafening at times. I wanted to scream and cry and beg…all for your words.

I wasn’t my best self in the beginning buddy. Although you never once saw the tears that fell behind my sunglasses and pooled in my lap. I wiped them dry as soon as I put the car in park.

But now, ten years in, I’m learning to embrace the silence. It’s our normal now.

We are very much like an old married couple. We drive around with the music down low. I’ve always done that…just in case a word does come out. I don’t want to miss it. That’s probably silly now but I want you to know that anything you have to tell me is welcome. I will always listen Cooper.

I fill some of the car ride with chatter about where we are going and the weather. I point out red stop lights and airplanes in the sky.

You point out a fire station, a pool we swam at 8 years ago, a herd of cows, an excavator parked in a field.

We gasp at each other’s findings. We always have. As if it’s the most unbelievable information.

You try to negotiate too. A quick stop for a doughnut at your favorite grocery store or a left turn to the paper store. You seem to always have plans.

I used to be afraid of this silence. Now in a way I crave this quiet time with you. Your two brother’s fill up every inch of air with their questions and chaos. 8 and 2 year olds have a lot to say.

But not you. You are choosier with what you say. Your book isn’t entirely written Cooper. I know because when it’s quiet, you let me in.

Today I thought about us doing this forever. Driving around. In silence. Me and an adult man.

I waited for the sting that happens when I gingerly step from our current reality into the future. Cautiously of course.

While I think about what you will look like grown up, I glance back at ten year old you. Wearing my purple coat because we couldn’t find your jacket.

You look 17. And then you smile, turning your iPad to show me the scene of Dora in space. She is wearing a helmet and you gently tap your head and smile again.

‘Yes buddy, we can go to space with Dora. And I won’t forget our helmets.’ You are always reminding me of our future plans.

And you gasp and mumble a clear YES! I can’t help but smile.

We may have mostly silence you and me, but we also have big plans.

I can’t promise to be perfect Cooper. I can’t promise to not cry at times or wish for more because mommy is human and she worries so much about you. But you should also know that I am so thankful for this silence. Because the silence means I get you.

I can’t imagine my world with out it.

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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