My Miss You

He used to tell me that he loved me.IMG_0125
When he lost those words last year it left a hole in my heart. As he fell deeper within himself I worried that I would never hear him say it again. Alright, worried might be an understatement.

I was devastated.

As the days passed we tried to build a bond with Xander, fighting the autism as it threatened to drag him away from us. We made much progress, but our desperate I love you’s were continually met with a blank stare or a flat “okay”. When he developed echolalia, which is the involuntary repetition of sounds and words, I remember crying from joy. He had no idea what he was saying, or why he was saying it, but dear Jesus I could pretend that he did. I learned to just say “I love you” to him instead of saying “I love you Xander” because when he repeated back “I love you Xander” it killed my dream.

Things finally changed a couple of months ago when Xander was home alone with his Dad for a few hours. When I came home it was clear that Xander hadn’t had a great time. He was horribly upset and threw himself into my arms the moment I walked in the door. I lifted him up and rocked him for a few minutes before pulling back to look at his face.
“Did you miss Mama, buddy? I sure missed you! Mama missed you a lot!”

As I was about to put his head back on my shoulder he looked at me and said “My miss Mama.” and wrapped his arms around me tighter.

I don’t know what made that moment click for him, but it did. That moment gave us back Xander’s I love you.

Every night when I tuck him in bed he will put his hand on the side of my face and say with emotion “Xander miss Mama.” He has learned his name and exchanged the word my for Xander, but the feeling behind that statement stays the same. I absorb every moment that those chubby little fingers touch my cheek and think of how lucky I am.

My miss you too, Xander.

*********************************************************************************

**EDIT: This post is a winner!!**
Thank you for the overwhelming support, you have made a tired Mother’s day so much better.
If you would like to post an announcement like this on your own blog, come and join us at Yeah Write! Head on over and read what we are all about and see if we are the right fit for you. Betcha we are!

Come visit the peeps at Yeah Write! I promise you’ll miss them just as much as I do.

This month is also Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month. Have questions? I can help you find answers and am always available to chat. Let’s change the way the world views our kids!

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66 Responses to “My Miss You”

  1. April 3, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    This made me tear up (and I’m not a crier!), ad makes me want to soak up those sweet moments with my own boys much more. I know you not ever take those words for granted, and that’s such a blessing. <3 Touching post & well-written too.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 10:52 am #

      Aw Laura! Thank you so much for the sweet words!
      Yes, soak up every single word they say. I have to try extra hard to do that with our oldest, my stepson, when he talks about minecraft for 3 days straight, but every single word is a blessing. :-)

      Thanks again so much. <3

  2. April 3, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Dawn!!! I’m in tears!! i’m SOOOOOOO happy for you.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Thanks Christina! It really is a miracle. I never would have thought just how important hearing those words are to me! To US!

      It’s a beautiful thing. :-)

  3. April 3, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    Dawn – I don’t even know you but I feel as if I do (on a blog stalker level I suppose!). I may not fully comprehend what you are going through (and that may be a poor choice in words) but I ask have a little guy around Xander’s age and can only imagine how hard it can be, those little things that we all take for granted. this post made me cry because it hurts to think how devastated it would be to lose those little things such as saying ‘I love you’, no matter how temporary. thanks for sharing the experience – really heartfelt. I’m glad Xander found another way to express his love.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 10:59 am #

      Miranda, thank you so much for stopping by! Stalkers are my favorite! Ha ha!

      Thank you for your sweet words. You helped make my day brighter. :-)

  4. April 3, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Oh! I’m so glad for you. Not only has he found a way to communicate the love that never left, but you know what he’s saying. All of the things you have been learning culminated in your understanding when his ability to communicate his love came back, and you knew exactly what he meant. Sniffle. Happy tears.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      Jessie!! Do you know WHY I knew what he was telling me? Because of you! I remember conversations we had about this sort of thing and how you told me that I had to look out for other ways he was showing his love. I think you said that Caroline talked about tracks?
      So when Xander says he misses me I don’t correct him and tell him that he’s wrong, that he means to say “love”. I just scoop him into my arms and tell him that I miss him too. :-)

      Thanks for being such a good friend.

      • April 3, 2013 at 11:10 am #

        Yes! Caroline was “trestle” – it was just how her mind associated it. It means so much to know, and I’m SO GLAD he can tell you.

        • Dawn-Marie
          April 3, 2013 at 11:14 am #

          YES! That’s it! Trestle!
          I’m really glad he found a way to express himself too. It seriously melts my heart every single time. It’s like a big fat cry-fest around here! Haha.

  5. April 3, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Remind me not to wear mascara when I read your posts. They fill my heart and make me weep. That My Miss Mama is so hard earned. I loved this the most.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 11:06 am #

      Thanks Christie! You’re such a doll. I love reading your comments.
      Maybe I should do a giveaway for water proof mascara one of these days. ;-)

  6. April 3, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    This is such a touching story. I am glad he found his way to express I love you. I miss this story!!

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

      Thanks Kate!
      I miss it too! :-)

  7. April 3, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    What a beautifully written piece. I also started tearing up, how could you read that and not tear up?

    My middle child has some issues at times (tactile, emotional, interpersonal) and it really touches you, that moment when you see you’ve made progress. They’ve made progress. That moment that something “clicks” for them is BIG. And this post was a beautiful celebration of what you can achieve with enough love and hope.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

      Thank you so much, Amy!

      I know what you mean when you talk about progress. We celebrate every single baby step around here. It helps fight off the worries. :-)

  8. April 3, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    This post is so beautiful! Drying the tears in my eyes as I type. So happy for you and your family!

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

      Awe Amanda Marie! Thank you for the kind words!
      Looks like I owe quite a few peeps some waterproof mascara!
      ;-)

  9. April 3, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Heart melting.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

      In a BAMF kinda way, right?
      Thanks Cindy.
      xo

  10. April 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    You made those onion-cutting ninjas follow me, didn’t you…*sniff*

    <3

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

      HUSBAND!!
      Yes. Yes I did.
      Also, hi! I love when you comment. xoxo

      • Mari
        April 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm #

        Have I ever told y’all that you two are so cute together that it makes my blood sugar spike to watch you interact? :-P

        • Dawn-Marie
          April 3, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

          Haha! We can’t help it!
          I just love him so much I could squeeze him forever.
          <3

  11. April 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    Your writing, your stories, always pull at my heartstrings. You are a fantastic mother and I am so grateful that you share your moments with us. My two girls are not on the spectrum, but I can relate to your sentiment. I miss things about them all the time as they grow up so fast.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

      Kristin, thank you so much for the great comment!

      I know it’s cliched, but they really do grow up so fast. I wish they could stay little for longer.

  12. April 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    you know how I feel. This was beautiful. xox

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      Oh Peach! I didn’t mean to heart-punch you. <3
      Thanks, doll. xoxo

  13. April 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    One definitely does learn to celebrate the little things, right?
    I could just picture the hand on the cheek. One of my little guy’s sensory anchors is to press his hand on my cheek. He’ll even push my hair back first if it is in the way. I know how much I love that connection, so I imagine it is as strong for you.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      That is really sweet! He sounds like a real charmer. :-)

  14. April 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    This is so sweet and now I’m teary-eyed, and I have to leave the house soon. I’m so glad he’s connecting with you. My Miss You – how precious!

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

      Thanks Stacie! He is an amazing kid. Some of the things he comes up with are just awesome!

  15. April 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    For how big my heart just swelled reading this, I know yours did threefold. What a wonderful connection you and him have made! My cousin’s ten-year-old son is autistic, and she celebrates these kinds of emotional connections every time they happen.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

      Thanks for the great comment, Dana!
      Autism parents as a whole are very good at celebrating the little things, and I am glad to hear that your cousin is one of them! :-)

  16. April 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    I honestly don’t know what to say. I’m just frustrated by our inability to stem what almost seems like an epidemic.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

      Hey Joe! Long time to see!
      While I wouldn’t change my son for the world, I do think it would be beneficial to find the cause of Autism.
      Here’s to hoping!

  17. Mari
    April 3, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    I’m a little sniffley right now. I can’t imagine how devastating it would be to lose that connection with one of my kids. But I also can’t imagine the feeling of triumph as it rebuilds. What an amazing little man and what an awesome mama. And poor dad – I’m sure it’s NOT always traumatic when Pat has Xander to himself but those seem to be the moments that get blogged about. :-P

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 8:41 pm #

      LOL! Oh geeze you made a good point! I better get on writing a blog post about how awesome Pat is so that he doesn’t get a complex. Haha.
      Also?
      Thanks.

  18. Jenny Leigh
    April 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    I love my miss you, and I’m so happy that you have it!

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      Thanks Jenny! Me too. :-)

  19. April 3, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    *tears* I can’t imagine how hard it must be, your struggle with autism. I’m happy though, that you’ve regained this moment. I’m praying for you.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

      Thanks Tomekha!
      Our lows are lower, but man our highs make up for them. It’s amazing.
      Thanks for swinging by!

  20. April 3, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Oh, what a touching story! I’m so glad that you have those special moments with him again.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

      Thank you so much!
      Yes, we’re really happy too. We have a long way to go, but he’s becoming happier and better adjusted every day.
      :-)

  21. April 3, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    So sweet, so beautiful. I’m glad these words returned for you.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 3, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

      Thanks Kirsten. I’m so glad too.

  22. April 3, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    Those hands on the cheeks are priceless! I melt into a huge puddle back in the days when my kids did that. He never stopped loving you and now he is able to give you the words you need to hear.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 5, 2013 at 8:46 am #

      It’s an amazing thing, isn’t it?
      This is what I am learning about Autism. My child is perfect and amazing and just as capable as every other child to feel emotions and to accomplish goals. What he needs from us is to adapt to his learning style, to help him find a way to express himself.
      Just like all children, but maybe a little moreso. :-)
      Thanks Robbie.

  23. April 3, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    I cannot even imagine the emotions…but on a smaller scale, my speech disabled son might say love you once every few months. But when he kisses or hugs me instead, it means the world.
    And I support autism awareness! I have friends and relatives with Aspergers (isn’t it recategorized as just “autism spectrum now?) And they are amaxing people if you just stop and listen.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 5, 2013 at 8:49 am #

      Hi Gem!
      However our little ones decide to show us their love is amazing. I’m glad that you have that connection. :-)

      The thing about DSM-V is that Asperger’s doesn’t exist anymore from a diagnostic stand point. The issue most people are having with it is that if the Aspies don’t fit under the new diagnostic criteria for ASD then they fall through the cracks.
      I don’t know a whole pile about it, but I think that there are quite a few people getting reassessed because of the new criteria.
      Either way, I agree 100% that they are amazing people and wish more people would stop and listen.

  24. April 3, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    Oh. So lovely. What a gift to be given. I’m glad he is able to communicate something so important.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 5, 2013 at 8:54 am #

      Thanks Daffodil!
      I DO feel like we’ve been given an incredible gift.
      Thanks for swinging by! :-)

  25. April 4, 2013 at 5:22 am #

    crap! crying at 7am – and before coffee!! beautiful, touching, sad, happy. too much for me so early. i am beyond beyond that you have that connection back.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 5, 2013 at 8:55 am #

      LOL Mama! Looks I need to start posting a disclaimer before some of these posts! ;-)
      Thank you for your super sweet comment. <3

  26. April 4, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    Holy smokes, Dawn. My heart broke for you in tiny pieces. I have no more words.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 5, 2013 at 8:58 am #

      Hi Erica! Thanks for commenting!
      I’m glad that it touched you. Kids are pretty amazing little people.

      I hope your heart fixes soon. :-P

      • April 5, 2013 at 11:20 am #

        Congrats on your writing awards this week, sweet girl. Thanks for being such a loyal part of our community at yeah write.

  27. April 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    OH, love, I am so happy for you and for him that he can tell you this. Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 5, 2013 at 8:59 am #

      Thanks Courtenay!!

      It’s a mixed bag of emotions for sure, but joy is the one that keeps bobbing to the top.
      xo

  28. April 4, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Oh Dawn, my heart breaks for you and the fact that Xander was able to communicate that to you made me smile for you. Beautiful, poignant piece.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 5, 2013 at 9:01 am #

      Thank you so much for the kind words Mod Mom!
      I’m so incredibly touched that it had such a profound effect on so many people. Amazing.

  29. April 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    *SNIFF* Dawn! Beautifully written and I’m so so happy for you both. What a breakthrough! Seriously, I just can’t even say how happy I am for you.
    I don’t know if my son “gets” I love you yet. I like to think he does but he doesn’t really say it unless I count the times when I say it enough so that he replies with an “I ya you,” which I can’t tell is him actually saying it or his muddled-speech way of just echoing it back. Anyway, I am SO HAPPY FOR YOU. <3

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 5, 2013 at 9:10 am #

      KRISTI!!
      I’m so glad to see you ’round here! :-)

      Xan totally doesn’t get “I love you” and I don’t know if he ever will. My friend Jessie gave me the best advice EVER when she told me that I had to pay attention to Xan and look for a pattern. Just like how it seems they speak/act in code for everything else and we need to decode what they really mean. If she hadn’t of told me that I would have just thought Xander’s “My miss you” was yet another wrong sentence.
      I know you’ll find your “Miss you” in Tuck-talk.
      <3

  30. April 5, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    How can a heart swell and ache so much at the same time? I’m sure you know. This knocked me off my feet. I will treasure all of my children’s miss-yous and love-yous a hundred times over from reading this. Hugs, mama.

    • Dawn-Marie
      April 5, 2013 at 9:12 am #

      Your comment made my day, Erin.
      Thank you so much.

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  1. yeah write #103 weekly writing challenge winners: jury prize, crowd favorite, top row five and birthday gifts! |yeah write - April 5, 2013

    [...] the crowd favorite as well, but the editors are, for the first time, allowing a special mention for Dawn Beronilla’s “My Miss You”, second in popular voting and a near-even split with Christie’s post in total points from editor [...]

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