Tracing Love: A Mother’s Morning with Her Autistic Son

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This not-so-little-anymore boy traced my face while I was sleeping this morning. I knew it was him before I opened my eyes.
Once I did, he giggled and ran away.
I’m sure he was confused why I was still in bed at 7 am.
I haven’t been sleeping and yesterday I tried to explain to him that mommy was tired.
After I told him he tapped on his chest, showing me his teal striped shirt.
He must have dressed himself. He was proud.
We both clapped and then he pointed to his feet. He wanted socks.
It’s all a big deal with him. See with autism there are no small things. It’s all taken time. And nothing is a given.
It’s hard not knowing what he understands. Most of the time he won’t give me any indication either.
But this morning, he climbed in my bed and traced my face. And for longer than a second. That’s how he communicates when it’s really important.
Touch. Reminding us to slow down and feel and listen with more than our ears.
I felt him go over my forehead, nose, eyes, cheeks and chin before eventually cupping my right side with his hand.
That’s a big deal for him. He’s not one to go touching anybody for no good reason.
When I came down later he smiled, waved and asked me for Cheetos and a juice.
All is right with his world. Mom’s up.
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.
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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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