To My Son on the Autism Spectrum: You Are Like the Sea to Me


I can spend my life watching you, observing how you see the sea.

The more I see your connection to the sea, the more I understand your life.

I marvel at how you watch the water come and go — how you stick your hands in the sand. You stop, turn to see me and smile. Then you take me by the hand and we walk to the shore. We swim together. Then we go back to the shore and sit on the sand. I see your expression as you feel the waves thunder in your feet. You smile at me again, take my hand once more to get back in the water. We do this over and over, but each time, it’s as if it were the first. I wonder if you want to make sure the experience is real.

And it’s amazing, right? Impossible to believe, I know that feeling.

I keep looking at you, and my eyes fill with tears. I wonder how someone can say you’re “absent” when to me you’re the most alive and present being in this world. You are present in every moment, letting yourself feel in the full extent of the word. You feel the air move your hair in the sun, you hear the sound of the sea, you watch the clouds and the shapes they make in the sky, you touch all the textures around you with your hands and feet. You even savor the taste of salt in your mouth.

You perceive everything around you, and I wonder if that’s why it’s difficult to express yourself in words. With me, you do not need words to express yourself. I’m here with you, unconditionally. We are accomplices in life and in our souls.

The sea amazes me too, and now I understand how much you have in common with it.

That depth in your soul, your calm and your strength. That mysticism and greatness that everyone falls in love with. Serenity and tempest. Beauty and tension.

Like the sea, you awaken in me wonderful feelings and emotions.

I love you, Álvaro. I know you’ll be sad and you’ll cry for a while when we have to go, but it’s time to go to bed.

Love you always,
Mom

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