Several years ago Timothy was considered to be non verbal autistic. I used to be asked time and time again what it was like. How did I know he loved me? Felt love?
I would automatically say that I knew he did, though sometimes I felt far less confident.
Often he would touch my face. Pat my back with a quick tempo in one spot or smile at me with bright eyes (oh those eyes....) To say my child felt nothing was like blowing a bloody hole through my heart. I mean, it's one if those heart stopping, gut wrenching moments that make you suck your breath in quickly and just stop...take it all in and think, yes this is really happening, it's real. This is what it's all about.
I love you Mommy.
I knew Timothy felt love. I knew it. One day he would tell me, but until that day the words left his lips he told me in other ways.
He let me hug him. Yes, let me. For a time he disliked being touched and let me tell you, that hurt. I knew it wasn't personal but oh, the hurt when he pushed me away...it was like a brick sat on my chest.
He would seek out my eyes for a moment to let me know he was there. To be honest sometimes I wasn't sure when he was with me and when he was not. I would call his name and he wouldn't flinch or bat an eye. Family questioned his hearing, his eye sight. No. It was autism that had his attention.
Not long ago the words formed on his lips and left his mouth like little sparrows like I knew they eventually would.
"I love you Mommy."
The world did stop turning for several moments while I processed what he had said and I'm not quite sure he understood my tears or the big deal I made of this...
It was and still holds court as one of the biggest freaking deals ever in the history of Mr Timothy and his accomplishments.
Timothy doesn't have much spontaneous speech and this was no exception - it was practiced and modeled after my own "I love you Timothy's " for months and even years.
I love you Mommy.
When it can't be physically said it's being said in other ways. A look, a touch, an action. You just have to follow the breadcrumbs.
Love to you and yours,