When I Look at My Son and See Autism

It’s amazing. Those days, weeks or months where you just feel like you are in a terrible slump… and then something beautiful happens to open your eyes to life’s idiosyncrasies. It makes you remember why it is you do what you do and what (or who) you do it for.

That happened today to me. I was rushing my son, Timothy, out the door to his marathon IBI session after school, and his hat’s brim poked me in the eye. It didn’t hurt, but reflex made me remark “ouch.” He stopped, and his eyes opened wide with concern. “Oh no, Mommy OK?” he asked as he brushed his fingers across my forehead over and over, searching my eyes for reassurance.

He felt remorse. Concern. Worry for someone else. My Timothy. This was the first time I’ve seen him show real, valid concern for me. Despite the hundreds, perhaps thousands of times he’s struck, kicked, scratched or head-butted me without batting an eye; he felt remorse this time. I wasn’t sure if he could feel. This moment meant more to me than words can say. It’s everything. It proves his mind is as beautiful as I always thought it was. It proves that even though the days are hard and sometimes I feel like giving up, I was meant for this, to be his mother.

The details aren’t important. What’s important is that he reached out through the invisible force field of autism and touched me. You see, sometimes I forget he’s a person and see him more as autism. It’s not right, and I don’t want you to think I condone it. But if I’m going to be honest here, as I swore I would be from the beginning, then there it is. Sometimes I allow my mind to drift to the what ifs, whys and maybes… but really those don’t help anyone, least of all Timothy.

Who cares why he is the way he is? Is it my fault? Maybe. Doesn’t matter.

What matters is now. And who I’m doing it for is Timothy.


This post originally appeared on The Book of Timothy.

Want to end the stigma around disability? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Autism Spectrum Disorder

How a Stuffed Animal Helped Us See Our Child as More Than a Diagnosis

It’s a special kind of hell to know, or to think you know, there is something wrong with your child even before they are born. It brings forth a cold, bottomless fear. You don’t even realize you are doing this really natural, almost unstoppable thing– fantasizing about your  unborn child’s amazing future. But you come to [...]

The One Thing I Wish I’d Fought Harder For

Regrets — we all have them in some form or another. I suppose that the toughest ones for a lot of us revolve around our children and parenting in some way. I generally don’t like to hold on to them. I am, for the most part, a “glass half full” kind of gal. A positive person. So [...]

How Special Needs Parenting Is Like Getting on an Airplane

Do you remember what the flight attendant says at the beginning of a flight? The part about securing your oxygen mask before helping others in the case of an emergency? I always nod my head in agreement. But sometimes, we need to really listen. Stick with me for a minute as I compare special needs [...]

To the Woman in the Grocery Store Who Turned Out To Be My Guardian Angel

Two and a half years ago, over Father’s Day weekend, I went to the gym and then out to buy steaks. I’d been having short, intense headaches, but at the moment, I felt great. I went in the store with two of my children, the third choosing to sit in the car right out front. [...]