To the mother with her adult son at Thomas the Train:
You had the oldest child here. I’m guessing he was 25. Your son was tall. He was a man. He even towered over you.
I saw him immediately when you arrived. He was practically levitating he was so excited.
It was like he had an aura around him. His joy. It radiated.
He ran in. Loud. Arms a moving. He ran right up to Thomas and started chatting to himself.
Fingers stimming. Head down. Twisting back and forth like my son does.
‘I love trains. Trains are my favorite. I love Thomas. Hi Thomas.’
And that’s all it took. I was drawn to him. To you. I wanted you in my life. I wanted to know everything about you. Your journey.
You are me. I am you. And my son is yours. Except 20 years from now.
I want to admit I wasn’t ready to meet you five years ago.
I wouldn’t have seen the beauty in this. I would have been sad.
I would have said to my husband on the drive home…’that’s not Cooper. That won’t be him. It can’t be. Right Jamie.’ I would try and convince myself.
Not anymore. You are now my inspiration. My goal.
I had so many questions. What is he like? Has he always talked? Are you scared? He’s so happy?
I thought about me, years ago. At this exact event. I was scared of autism.
Scared of forever. Scared of bringing an adult man here. Scared of being judged. Scared of the unknown. Scared of being different.
I watched you for a while. Holding his hand. Helping him on the train. Laughing. Smiling. Mothering.
You weren’t sad. You weren’t embarrassed.
Your perpetual big man with the young soul was just fine. Just like Cooper will be.
Thank you for coming here.
Thank you for being out in public. For not hiding severe autism. For showing me my future and how wonderful it can be.
Sincerely, a thankful mother.
This post originally appeared on the blog, Finding Cooper’s Voice