You are Special for Just Being You

Cooper 54

My sweet boy,

I’m just sitting here watching you sleep. I often do this, just so you know. I sneak in your room and quietly sit on the bed near you. Someday I’m sure you’ll tell me I’m creepy with your speech device. Or maybe even say it. Secretly, I can’t wait. I can’t wait for that simple normalcy.

But until then, this mama ain’t stopping because I like to watch you sleep and imagine what you are dreaming about. I like to rub your hair and snuggle you really close.

When you sleep, you let me touch you. You don’t pull away or cringe. You have time. You are still. You are peaceful.

I love the way you breathe. And smell like the wind. I love your pile of treasures and your 7 blankets.

I love you. All of you.

Sometimes, when I watch you, I pray. Sometimes I think about the future or the present. Or even the past I suppose.

Sometimes I go over my failures. Or your successes. Sometimes I wonder how this is all going to turn out. And if I will be doing this when I’m 80 and you are a middle aged man. Will I still be rubbing your back?

But today, my inner thoughts were different. Today, I did something I haven’t done in a while.

I worried.

See this morning, before my feet hit the ground, I remembered that you are ready for a haircut. And how proud I am of you that you can now go to a salon to have your hair cut. It’s not easy. Not by any means. And the salon needs to be closed and I need to wear my tennis shoes and after I feel like I talked you off a ledge. But none of that matters because you are doing so amazing sweet boy.

But it’s a lot. Even for me sometimes. I feel my age in those moments.

And I wonder.

What happens after I’m gone. Who will bring you to get your hair cut? And who will kneel in front of you and hold your hands safe and count to 50 and sing songs? And help you take deep breaths?

I don’t know. And I got so scared a few minutes ago that I had to find you Cooper. I had to sit beside you and hold your hand while you sleep and pray. Pray that you will always be safe and know the love that you have right now.

I will it into you. The love I have for you.

I don’t get scared very often. And that’s because you have taught me bravery and courage. You go out into a world every day that you don’t understand. One that doesn’t understand you. But you do it. Unapologetically.

Yesterday someone asked me who I admire most in this world.

It’s you.

Your determination. Your ability to be yourself in any situation. Your prickly parts. Your dulled edges. The way you dance to music I cannot hear. The way people look at you like you hung the moon.

You need to know that kid. Most people who are special are so for their accomplishments. You kid are special for being you. By simply being Cooper you get to change the world for the better. And me the tour guide.

B-U-S. That’s what’s you said this morning. Unprompted. Slow and each syllable drawn out. Then you smiled. Like you do when you do something amazing.

B-U-S. You pointed to the window nonverbally telling me it was time for you to go.

You were ready. I was not. I don’t know if I ever will be Cooper. I just love you too much.

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 FacebookInstagram, 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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