Sometimes "I Love You" is a Solo Number: What This Mom Does

It is especially common for Moms with children on the autism spectrum - saying "I love you" without the love verbally returned.
“Good night, honey. I love you!” He turns from me to face the wall. I back out of his room and close the door.

“Have a great day at school! I love you.” I wave, smiling, watching as she and her backpack leave the driveable nest of my car each morning when I drop her off.

My teens returned words, “I know you do.”

It isn’t easy, offering up one sided “I love yous.” yet the reality is for some parents it isn’t warm and fuzzy and Hallmark. Instead we are offered silence, a downturned face, an attempt to explain why the verbal “I love you” is not boomeranged back at us the way it happens with “normal” kids and moms.

I’m not sure when I chose to not allow the silence to stop me from offering “I love you” as a continual aspect of the verbal diet I offer my children. I’m not sure when I discovered other parents with children on the spectrum face this same seemingly unrequited love from our babies.

When Samuel was younger he would repeat back, “I love you,” but that was when he was working so hard to do what made everyone happy, before he became absolutely devoted to definitions and doing what he knew inside himself was the right thing.

Now, at thirteen, he believes his spoken “love” can only be of the romantic kind. He insists on not being called “Sam” anymore, either. That is a nickname, he reminds us - and he doesn’t believe in nicknames. He will tolerate his grandfather calling him Sam or his godbrother calling him Sam, but no one else is given that luxury.

Emma simply confesses she isn’t any good at saying, “I love you,” so rather than appease me with drivel “just because” she elects to not respond.

Rather than get in a huff, I continue to both love her and say “I love you!” anyway.

If I was completely honest, like both of these children of mine are, I would confess sometimes I would give almost anything just to hear an honest, unpremeditated and not in response to provoking from me “I love you” from either or both of these two.

I’ll continue, though, to hold onto hope for that day while remembering not to attach myself to the appearance of an “I love you” stampede in my eardrums.

“Good night, honey. I love you!” He turns from me to face the wall. I back out of his room and close the door.

“Have a great day at school! I love you.” I wave, smiling.

My teens returned words, “I know you do.”

It isn’t the stuff of Hallmark or American Greetings, but it is what I have. I love them.

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Julie Jordan Scott is a Writer, Life Coach, Poet,
Speaker, Actor, Director and Mom Extraordinaire
http://juliejordanscott.typepad.com/

 

 

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