Come Back to Me


“Come back to me…come back to me…” I mutter as I hold my daughter who is once again slipping into the unknown.

The only words that come to my mind as I rock my beautiful little angel in my arms.

You see there is a tantrum, and then there is a meltdown. Since the months of Avery’s diagnoses they occur less often, but when they do it is as if my soul is ripped out of my body, chasing into the battlefield after her.

There is simply no other way to describe it.

My innocent little girl loses complete control of her body. She looks at me with terrified eyes almost as if she is thinking, “help me”.

She throws herself around the room and digs her nails into the fragile skin around her eyes. Her head hits the floor.


I put my hands under her head to cushion the blow.


I learned long ago to make sure to position my palms under her head, not my knuckles… it hurts less. I plead, “Avery, Avery, it’s ok…come back to me baby, come back to me. Mommy’s here, mommy’s here.”

Avery doesn’t always have words to communicate, but if she could, I imagine she would tell me that her body just feels like too much. That she feels this intense need to get out of her skin, escape to the other side.

Avery’s official diagnoses is Severe Autism, and though there is no specific sensory processing disorder listed in her charts, I imagine that it is part of our daily struggles.

A year ago, I would have no idea what a sensory disorder meant. The best way I can describe it is that it seems sometimes Avery loses touch with her body. It is almost as if she cannot feel her body sometimes. In these intense moments as we dive deeper and deeper into a meltdown, I believe there is a very good chance she loses touch with most of her body.

She tries to regulate herself by banging her head, flailing her arms, throwing her small 35-pound body across the room.

“Come back to me…” I whisper again as I move her to the bed to try and cushion the blows. I try laying on her, massaging her, rocking her.

For a 3-year-old she is so strong. Sometimes it feels she is stronger than me.

Before Avery was diagnosed her meltdowns could last hours and hours. Now they average about 20-30 minutes. It doesn’t matter how long or short they are though, because in these moments of extreme meltdown, it feels as if days, weeks, maybe decades have passed.

All of a sudden, a new song switches on the TV and Avery is still. She sits up babbling, and clings to me for a hug as she watches song after song on Baby Bum. She is tired, thirsty, hungry.

My strong girl. Stronger than any toddler should ever have to be.

She won the battle; she came back to me. She always comes back to me, but every time I find myself desperately thinking, what if she doesn’t come back? What if she doesn’t come back the same?

But I stop myself thinking, “Don’t go there.”

I wipe away a tear from my face because now is not the time to break down. I must be strong for her. I must be strong for my 11-month-old in the other room playing with Avery’s ABA therapist as if nothing is happening. How desperately I want to break down and cry, “This isn’t fair for her. This isn’t fair for me.” A few months ago, maybe I would have.

But it is just another day. Another meltdown. Time to move on. For now, all is right in our little world.

Written by Lauren Gibson

Hi, my name is Lauren. My daughter, Avery’s view of our world is a little different than a typical kid. She can’t explain it in words, so until she can, I’ll be her narrator. I decided to create a Facebook page, Avery’s Amazing View to share and document our journey through this unknown world of autism as Avery shares her amazing view of her world with us. My goal is to spread awareness about autism along with all the things we have learned along the way.

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. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and join our supporter page, Coop’s Troops, for an amazing community full of support and understanding.

Kate Swenson

Kate Swenson lives in Minnesota with her husband Jamie, and four children, Cooper, Sawyer, Harbor and Wynnie. Kate launched Finding Cooper's Voice from her couch while her now 11-year-old son Cooper was being diagnosed with autism. Back then it was a place to write. Today it is a living, thriving community of people who want to not only advocate for autism, but also make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities and their families. Her first book, Forever Boy, will be released, April 5, 2022.

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