Today is a day we all look forward to in every type of background…a happy birthday. My son, Keegan, turned 4 years young and it started just like any other day. My son has autism, and is non- verbal. I never really thought about him and his speech delay, I have always said, “When he is ready, he will find his voice.” I still believe that, of course, but this morning I started my day feeling a bit down.
Keegan followed me into the living room dragging both his favorite blankies behind him. Sat right in my lap and snuggled in to get warm. I gave him a kiss like every morning, but this time sang, “Happy birthday to you…” he just sat there and stayed calm and quiet. Just like every day. I have worked with children with autism for 15 years now, and I’m well aware that some kids do not speak until 5, 7, even 10 years old. I am also very aware that some beautiful autism children do not ever find their voice. And I really am ok with the fact that he isn’t ready to find his. I just got a little sad this morning. I haven’t ever heard, “I love you,” or, “I need you Mama.” of course I know he loves me because of how he gives me lots of kisses and giggles all day every day. I know he needs me, because when he drags his blankies and snuggles into me and lays his head on my shoulder, I know he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. But having a birthday to show growth and becoming a little adult human, you sometimes take for granted that people just expect their kids to tell them about their day, some parents even get tired of hearing their children rambling on and on. But not me. I know what it’s like to really want to hear my beautiful boy tell me a secret, or to tell me he is upset, or scared, or hurt…but instead we wait silently.
Positive vibes came out of my silent and little sad day, because of the fact that I know Keegan will find his voice. And if not his voice, he will find a way to communicate. There is no question in my mind. So instead of getting upset about what I am missing as a Autism Mom, I wanted to think positive and Pay It Forward. So I switched my entire day around by buying a few co workers coffee that have somehow helped me throughout my journey as “Stimmy Mama.” because something simple like a kind word, a laugh, or even the attempt at understanding has made an impact on me, and those people go through life not expecting anything in return. So I chose to use my moment of weakness to give to people that help make my days bright. Keegan will be proud when I tell him today, and he WILL communicate in his own special way to tell me.