And when you laugh sometimes you 'lose your bones' because you're tired too, and what it must take for you to keep upright and moving forward is beyond me. You are harder for me to help when you can't walk all the way on your own, and I can't carry you anymore; not with all of those long legs and arms. But you are standing up straighter -your posture no longer hunched over. You look forward these days, not at the ground as it passes you. You watch out the window to see where we are going, and always remember places you've been before.
You are so friendly. Cautious in the beginning, like your Daddy, but once you discover the people who are respectful of you, it's clear that you choose your friends and your favorite caretakers. Anyone who says that autistic kids don't know how to develop relationships is full of it, because I have watched you, and your relationships are deep. You only really let loose with the people you trust, and you will not ask for help from just anyone. I guess that's like your Daddy too.
We know who you like, but you are telling those people yourself lately, showing many more signs of outward affection. I've seen you sit snuggled with your grandparents. And you're leaning in for a hug and standing still long enough so that we know that you are there on purpose. While I know how much you love me, I must admit that when you kissed me last week it made my heart sing. You did that for me. I'm always kissing you, and I know you didn't need to kiss me, but I asked, and you gave.
You have a new willingess to do some of those things outside your comfort zone. Share space, be held. You hold my hand now, you reach for it, and though I know I am gripping you for safety, I also know that we are holding hands by choice too. Curling up on the couch, sharing a blanket, you are learning to rest. Those things are hard to do when you are so used to moving constantly. I'm learning too, and when you pause, I try to remember to be with you in the moment, because they are are all so fleeting.
Our conversations are lopsided I know. I talk, you answer questions, but the more we listen, the more you communicate. Maybe I am offering better choices, maybe you see the personal incentive for letting me know what you really want instead of me guessing, whatever it is, we are all happier.
I think you're hitting your stride. So many parents worry about the teenage years, and maybe next year you will be an awful mess of hormones raging around the house, but for now, you are still my sweet boy, growing into a handsome and loving young man.
Happy 12th Birthday. We love you so very much.