themighty logo

When 'Hope' Became a 3-Letter Word for My Son on the Autism Spectrum


mom and son smiling We have a routine, you and me. It’s just how we do. Because putting emotions into words doesn’t come easy for you. 

So we practiced a few times saying these three words. And after a few minor hitches, you got the hang of it. What can I say, you’re a fast learner. That’s just how you do.

So now when I say “I love you,” and I might have to say it again, and it might not always work, but more often than not you will respond “I love you.”

And we’ve being doing this thing for a while now, you and me.

But last night was different. It wasn’t like all the other times of prompted routine responses. You surprised me. But then again, that’s just how you do. Out of the blue you stuck a three letter word right on the end and said, “I love you too.”

We never practiced that one, and I never told you what to say. And just like that you made it special. You made it your own, all on your own. I never imagined such a simple three-letter word could carry so much hope, that maybe one day you just might say “I love you,” out of the blue.   

But even if you never do, my heart has been made full. Because of a little three letter word like “too” was enough spontaneity to last me a lifetime of spontaneous “I love you’s.”  

And yeah, we both know coloring on paper may not be your thing, but you sure do a beautiful job of coloring the walls of my heart.  

You keep reminding me it’s not about what may or may not happen; it’s about the right now. Because I can get so caught up in the worries of tomorrow that the moments of today slowly slip away, and those I can never retrieve. But if I live them and breathe them in, then I will always have them to remember. And so I will live in the moments of “too’s” and as for tomorrows, well those will just have to wait because right now we have today.

Follow this journey on Branch Life Journey.

The Mighty is asking the following:  Tell us about a stranger’s comment about your (or a loved one’s) disability, disease or mental illness that has stuck with you for one reason or another. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.