“Mom, look!” Why I need to respond.

“Mom, look! It’s the metro!”

I was busy. I didn’t want to walk over and see what was on his iPad. Besides, he’d probably shown me the exact video ten times before.

But I did. I stopped what I was doing and looked, and I was wrong. Henry was pointing at a new-to-us train video, and sure enough, there was the Washington, DC, metro. Like Henry, I recognized the tunnel we had visited only weeks before.

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I smiled as I realized what I would have missed if I had blown off the request. A moment of authentic, meaningful connection. A moment that said, Look, Mom. We did that together. That was special to me. 

Too many times I have said, “Mm-hmm. Yeah, I see that, bud,” but didn’t really see.

“Just a minute, Henry.”

“Hold on, honey.”

And when I do, I am missing out. Definitely. I am missing out on precious encounters with my son. What’s worse, though, is that Henry is missing it too.

He wants me. He wants Keith. He desires connection with us just as we did with our parents. As much as he enjoys time alone, creating stories with his trains or hiding in the closet or nesting under his blanket, he also relishes our attention. Just like any other child, his self-worth, his happiness, and his relationships with other humans starts here, at home.

These moments are gone as fast as they come, and I must be better about capturing them. I must be more intentional, more present, and less involved with whatever it is I’m doing at any given moment. Nothing is really that important anyway, not in comparison to creating a life for this little boy.

When I think about what made my childhood so great, and when I think about what shaped my personality, my beliefs, my convictions, even my ideas of fun, it’s not Disney World. It’s not the expensive prom dresses. It’s not my first car. It’s not one thing. It’s the culmination of many moments, flowing one into another like a gentle stream. The individual water molecules are indistinguishable to the glancing eye, but each one is actually a treasure, and the overall effect is beauty.

I want to see every bit of that stream. I want Henry to know I think it’s beautiful.

New here? Glad you made it! I write about my unique joys and challenges as Mom to Henry, a smart, tender, quick­-witted, train-loving, autistic 10-­year­-old with an infectious smile. I long to encourage autism parents and empower all to see inclusivity doesn’t have to be difficult - it can be beautiful. Like what you see? Sign up here to receive news and occasional freebies just for insiders.

1 Comment

  1. So good.

    Our children are now entering their adult years and while I certainly listened to people who told us those early years would go past way too quickly, I still feel I missed some of those opportunities.

    I don’t think any of us get it all completely right but those simple moments that connect us are the building blocks of lifelong memories.

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