What is love and what does it all mean anyway

 Several years ago Timothy was considered to be non verbal autistic.  I used to be asked time and time again what it was like.  How did I know he loved me?  Felt love?

I would automatically say that I knew he did, though sometimes I felt far less confident. 
Often he would touch my face.  Pat my back with a quick tempo in one spot or smile at me with bright eyes (oh those eyes....)  To say my child felt nothing was like blowing a bloody hole through my heart.  I mean, it's one if those heart stopping, gut wrenching moments that make you suck your breath in quickly and just stop...take it all in and think, yes this is really happening, it's real.  This is what it's all about.  
I love you Mommy.
I knew Timothy felt love.  I knew it.  One day he would tell me, but until that day the words left his lips he told me in other ways.
 He let me hug him.  Yes, let me.  For a time he disliked being touched and let me tell you, that hurt.  I knew it wasn't personal but oh, the hurt when he pushed me away...it was like a brick sat on my chest. 
He would seek out my eyes for a moment to let me know he was there.  To be honest sometimes I wasn't sure when he was with me and when he was not.  I would call his name and he wouldn't flinch or bat an eye.  Family questioned his hearing, his eye sight.  No.  It was autism that had his attention.
Not long ago the words formed on his lips and left his mouth like little sparrows like I knew they eventually would.
    "I love you Mommy."


The world did stop turning for several moments while I processed what he had said and I'm not quite sure he understood my tears or the big deal I made of this...
It was and still holds court as one of the biggest freaking deals ever in the history of Mr Timothy and his accomplishments.
Timothy doesn't have much spontaneous speech and this was no exception - it was practiced and modeled after my own "I love you Timothy's " for months and even years.
I love you Mommy.
When it can't be physically said it's being said in other ways.  A look, a touch, an action.  You just have to follow the breadcrumbs.
                                                                   Love to you and yours,
                                                                         Trish.  XO

Thomas the train is far too young for your son....

...Said the cashier at Wal-mart to me casually.
Timothy was not with me this night, I was Christmas shopping alone (gasp!  Holy Hanukkah it does happen once in a blue moon) and had this amazing Thomas the train advent calendar in my cart. 
 The older than me woman behind the cashier, had remarked on the calendar and then asked me how old my son was; as she had a three year old grandson who she had bought one for as well.
Had this been several years ago I would have gotten my back up pretty quickly and possibly said something not quite kosher to her, but not now, not this night.  She spoke so matter-of-fact.  I had to.  I just had to say something.  I couldn't let it go. 
Holy schnikes batman, she really didn't know how callously she could be perceived.  But does anyone really?  We have all become so damn politically correct, panties in wad, tongue in cheek, that really you can't have an opinion about anything, to anyone, anywhere at any time.......
Back to my little story....
I thought for a minute and then said, "Timothy really likes Thomas.  I don't think he cares what the other kids think".  Inside I was laughing, cause really he is kinda oblivious.  In an awesome way.
The woman  shook her head knowingly and replied, "Oh he will.  The others will make fun.  Maybe you should think about getting a different one? "
I smiled a her and said, "Thanks but no thanks.  He will love this one.  You see, my son is an exceptionally special little dude.  He is 7 and has autism.  He really won't care what others think because he just doesn't connect like that socially.  
Her mouth dropped and I could see the panic in her eyes as they began to water.  Before she could speak, I said, "Its ok.  How could you have known?  How could you have known he has the mental functioning of a two year old?  He loves Thomas and he would not be offended in any way by your comments and neither am I.  Really."
A tear slid down her cheek and of course I welled up too.  (Damn sympathy crier I am!  Never fails.)
She came out from behind the counter and hugged me.  She whispered "God bless you" in my ear and that was that.  I paid my bill and wished her a Merry Christmas.  Said perhaps next time I will bring the young sir by and say hello.
She smiled and said she would like that.
The next day I presented Mr. Timothy with his Thomas the train advent calendar.  And of course....he loved it.  Fist pump!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful new year!
Trish and Timothy.