Archive for November, 2012


I originally posted this in December 2010 when I started this blog.  I wanted to share it again for Thanksgiving.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

“I am thankful for making words.”

I read this and froze in my tracks. My son wrote this on his construction paper “leaf” at school for Thanksgiving 2010.

I began to remember all the times we wondered if he’d ever speak to us.  I remembered when he was three years old and, putting him to bed one night, he said, “I love you” to me for the first time.  I cried, and told my husband and called my friends and family, even though it was late.

I recalled how we used to not give him anything he wanted, putting everything out of his reach, until he would say the word for the item.

I remembered how his only words were echolalic terms.  He would only repeat or “script” words from movies, books, and songs.  I remembered how happy I was when he told me the first time, “I want…. Daddy?”, as if he were unsure he could want Daddy.  I remember (as does my husband) how I unlocked the bathroom door where Daddy was… um… busy… because Philip used a complete sentence and expressed that he wanted someone he couldn’t see for the first time!  Philip stayed in the bathroom with Daddy until Daddy was done.

I remembered how we slowly and painstakingly helped him ask questions and request what he wanted, how we used and are using sentence starters to help him have conversations with friends, how we role played before social situations what he could say when someone asked him such things as “How are you?  Do you like school? What grade are you in? How old are you now?”

And, more recently, I remembered with tears in my eyes how happy I was when I asked my husband if he would put Philip to bed and Philip said, “Daddy, tell Mommy no.”  How he answered me now when I asked him how his day was or what he wanted for dinner.

Philip wrote, I am thankful for making words.

I am thankful, too.

Family Favorites

Weeks before Thanksgiving, I asked my family how they wanted to celebrate.  Seemed like all of my nearby family and friends were going elsewhere and my far-away family wasn’t coming this year.  It was going to be us 5.  My vote: go out to eat.  Well, I was outvoted.  I was amazed to hear that it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving for my family without a turkey dinner at home.  Sigh.

So, the day before the big day, I began to cook.  I made the pumpkin pie filling, chopped the veggies for the stuffing, brined the turkey, made the dough for the biscuits.  Then, as we were running errands, my middle guy asked me who was coming for Thanksgiving dinner.  When I replied that no one was coming, he asked where we were going.  I told him we were staying home and having the turkey dinner that everyone wanted.

Mayhem ensued.  My  middle guy and my girl were very adamant that they never said they wanted to stay home.  (What?)

Then my middle guy surprised me.  He asked me why we couldn’t call Uncle E. and Uncle R. and see if they could come over.

I explained to him that his uncles, aunts, and cousins had other plans.  He said, “Well, maybe we could just go to Uncle R’s house.” Again, I explained they had other plans.

My son has never seemed to care one way or another about holiday guests and family.  I just chalked it up to his autism.  I was impressed that he wanted to connect with others.

But then my son really shocked me.  He said, “Uncle R. likes me the most.”  That was odd. To my knowledge, my son has never had a real conversation with Uncle R.  I asked him how he knew that Uncle R. liked him the most.

“Because, every time Uncle R. sees me, he says, “Hi, Philip!'”

I learned something today. Whether or not it seems like it, my son notices who takes time to acknowledge him, who seems happy to see him, and cares about his family. This gives me hope: hope that he will have meaningful relationships outside of his nuclear family and hope that he might learn to reciprocate.

And it breaks my heart a little, because it means he also most likely notices when he is ignored, which happens a lot, because on the outside, it seems like he’s in his own world or content just to flap his hands and say “Eeeee” over and over.  It also means that I’ve been discounting him just a little.  How much else has he noticed that I just assumed he didn’t?

I am so thankful that my boy cares and loves.  Now to foster those family relationships…

Happy Thankgiving!