Empathy, Autism, and Taking Things With a Grain of Salt

You touch my cheek, tell me I’m beautiful and hug me fiercely. You crawl up in my lap at just the right times and you snuggle with me when I need it the most.

You giggle when I wiggle my eyebrows at you or cross my eyes. Sometimes all it takes is a smile to get a full belly laugh out of you.

You point out booboos and tell me they’ll be okay. You kiss my bruises and my scratches and offer to get me a bandaid for everything whether it needs one or not.

My tears bother you. You don’t like to see Mommy cry at all. You will wrap your little arms around my neck and hug me tight. You sit in my lap and let me sniff your hair as I regain my composure.

No one can tell me that you don’t have empathy. You love me like no one else. You are so sweet and caring. Even when you’re in the middle of a meltdown and your body is moving like a tornado, you will melt into me. You like nothing more than to be curled next to me as we sit on the couch together.

Early in the mornings on the weekends, you come to my room and wake me with little hands in my hair or a tiny voice that asks around fingers in your mouth if you can climb up. You lay beside me with your cold feet stuck to my legs, your arm around my head, your hands and face buried in my hair. You bring your stuffed animals and we all snuggle in together as you take each one and tickle my cheek with it.

You are fascinated with bugs and like to watch them crawl around fly all over the place. You will watch a necklace rocking back and forth on a display for as long as it moves. You love to watch the wind blow in the trees and make the leaves shake. You love to roll cars on the edge of the table and watch the wheels turn.

You like to line your breakfast up across the table in front of you or stack it in perfect little piles. You are fascinated with buttons and can’t keep your hands away from them. You hate for your sister to ride her toy towards your feet. You’re terrified that she might try to run them over. You will chase after the huge spiders that have been getting into the house but as soon as one comes toward you I hear shrill squeals and feet pounding against the floor as you run away.

I took you to the Monster Mash at your new school. You stayed close to me and your Mamaw because the kids running in circles was just too much for you. You found a little boy with a “Scream” mask and you were so fascinated with his mask that you walked right up and touched it. He was startled at first but then he figured out you were harmless and so he played with you and your brother. I could tell he recognized that you were a little different but he put the effort into playing with you. I’m so grateful he looked past the little boy jabbering incoherently at him and saw your curiosity. He made your brother giggle and squeal as he would sneak around and poke his head out at him. He wasn’t afraid and was actually enjoying the game. He loves to be chased, after all.

I’m proud of you for not having any meltdowns even though I know that was overwhelming for you. You all did so well. You are all doing so well. Mommy is proud of you. So proud of you all.

About the Author: Forgotten is a mom to three children, including five-year-old twin boys with autism. This piece first appeared on her blog, Fairy Tale Forgotten, and appears here by permission.

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