‘You must love him differently,’ she said. I looked at her curiously when she said that.
‘Why?’ I asked.
‘Because he needs you so much more than the other two. Because of the autism.’
I didn’t know what to say at first. She went there. Without fear. Without hesitation.
I smiled and said, ‘I love him because he’s mine. I don’t love him any more or less or any different than his brothers. Autism has never changed a thing with my love for him.’
I love him because he made me a mom. I prayed for him. I spent 9 months imagining him. And good god he was perfect when he arrived.
I love him because he loves me so much.
I love him because he may be my little boy forever. I may wash his feet and scrub his hair long after a mama should. We may grow old together. And accepting that almost broke me. But now, I know there is beauty in that.
I love him for showing me how to be his mom. He showed me the way and was patient in my journey to get here.
I love him because he smells like the wind. And dirt. I love him because I’m pretty sure he sees and hears things you and I don’t. He sees sounds. He hears colors.
He feels love and mad and happy and sad so much more than we do.
I love him because he wakes me up every morning by putting his hand on my cheek.
And than my glasses. And then he waves. He acts like he hasn’t seen me for days or weeks.
I love him because he claps every single time he accomplishes something. And when I do too. If it’s a really big deal to him he will make sure every person in the room claps…even strangers.
I love him because he touches the grass and trees. He feels the cold metal of a sign on his face. He touches the ear of a dog. And the fuzzy hair of his brother.
I love him because he’s says ‘M-O-M’ 350 times a day. He shows me his trains. He grabs my hand and forces me to dance and twirl. He follows me everywhere. And waits for me at the window.
I love him because he loves paper. And photos. And cookies. And Capri suns. And elephants, tractors and license plates. I love him because he can negotiate and bribe with no words at all.
I love him because he is more himself than any other person I have ever met. I love him because every single day is the best day of his life.
I love him because he works so hard to be part of a world that makes no sense to him. And doesn’t always give him a chance either.
I don’t love him differently because of autism. I love him exactly the way he needs me too. It’s as simple as that.
This post originally appeared on the blog, Finding Cooper’s Voice