Silence and Sunshine

My son,

This morning was one of those great mornings.

You and I, sitting side-by-side, taking in the morning in our own familiar way. You on the couch surrounded by 7 fleece blankets and treasures.

Me, right next to you in the recliner, feet up, drinking coffee.

The news was going on about something or another but I couldn’t really hear it over the music blaring from your iPad. You were dancing to it. Every few seconds you would pick up my arm and move it with yours to the beat of the music.

Or gasp as you showed me some amazing scene on the screen. Trains. It’s often trains. I gasp and smile at the joy that my excitement brings you.

For a second when I glanced at you I did a double take.

It made me think for some bizarre reason of an unseasonably warm day in November when you were three years old. We spent the afternoon walking outside.

Autism was being whispered about but it wasn’t for certain yet. And as we walked, I talked, and told you about the leaves and the sky. And I imagined you talking. But mostly I told myself that I just had to be patient. And that your words would come.

I remember that day because I cried as I trailed behind you. Because, the thought of nonverbal forever was unbearable. The pain, the hurt, the fear, felt all consuming.

You are ten years old now. You are an in-between, a tween. And soon a teenager. You still have very few words. But the pain has changed. Dulled to the point where I can’t imagine you talking anymore. Or what your voice would sound like.

The silence between us feels right. Like a comfortable pair of shoes or a warm sweater. We don’t need words you and I.

I know everything about you. I know you have a mole in between your toes on your left foot. I know your hair feels like straw. I know the gap between your front teeth. The slivers of hazel in your eyes.

You made me a mom.

Someone asked me yesterday what it’s like to have a child who doesn’t talk. They found it hard to believe I suppose.

For me it’s a lot of things.

I’ve grieved every word you haven’t said. I’ve prayed and longed and begged and pleaded for your voice.

I’ve went numb. I lived in an angry place for a while. I’ve fought for you to have communication of any sort, which you rock at kid. You are the most communicative kid that I know. Just without spoken words.

To me the answer is complicated.

Like a long drawn out riddle where the answer is never really determined.

I wish for more for you but I am thankful for everything you have.

You have some sign language and can ask for grandma with a speech device and point to what you want for dinner and say ‘MM-OO-MM’ when your little brother is dancing in the dog’s water dish.

You can touch my arm to get my attention and hug your brother when he gets home from school. And you can say ‘ow’ when you stub your toe.

I don’t know the answer to your riddle yet. I don’t know if you talk in your dreams or if you have things to tell me.

I just know I’m thankful for you and for what we have.

You have taught me gratitude kid. I am grateful for you. For your happiness. For your life. And for the strength you have given me.

I loved that day kid. We didn’t have words then and we don’t have them today.

The silence was scarier then. But not anymore.

I remember you felt like sunshine.

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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