Monday, November 15, 2010

Three Little Words

I was up most of last night, nursing the boy's fever. It spiked to 104 and I hate when he's that sick.  This is the time when autism becomes really frightening because he's not able to convey his feelings.  It's a round of 20 questions and I played it alone.  "Does your tummy hurt?"  "Do you need to spit?"  "Does your head hurt?" "How do you feel?"  He stared at the walls, at the floor, at the speck of dust only he can see.

This morning I woke up at my usually time, ready to make my calls: to the bus matron, to the office, to my mother.  Letting everyone know Norrin was sick, he was not going to school and that I will be home with him.  The faint stink of last nights vomit still lingers in the air, even though I've sprayed Lysol and opened all the windows.

By the time I returned to my room, Norrin had moved from his bed to ours.  His eyes were half open.  I brushed his hair back, his face was hot and red.  I passed a cold wash cloth over his face; he swatted me away and I was so tired that I gave up, hoping the medicine will work.

He kissed me on the cheek. "I love you," he said, looking right at me.

The words took me by surprise.  I had never heard them before - well, not unless I've said it first.  He's never said it on his own.  Usually at bedtime, I'll repeat "Good night.  I love you." until he's said it back to me.  He usually says "goodnight," it's only recently that he's repeated "I love you." And on the rare occasion he did say it, it sounded scripted, as if he's just saying the words without any understanding of what they mean.  I've always felt wrong about this, like I'm forcing him to say something that he doesn't feel.

I've never doubted his love for me, but to hear him say it made it seem real.  As cliche as it sounds, they really are the words that every mother longs to hear.  Especially to parents with special needs children.  So many people take those words for granted, without realizing that some may never hear them.  Then are those who say the words so freely, the meaning is lost.                

I don't know when I'll hear those words again.  But there is something wonderful in knowing that he'll say those words only when he truly means them.       



  1. I hope hes feeling better by now :) he said it and meant it, he sees the amazing mom he has and specially am sure feeling hot and sick. He felt your comfort and meant every word the " I love you", my val says it very few times but when she does I feel it, I also have an interesting life with my Val who is now facing teenage years, so u can just imagen ADHD and the world we life in :) but im sure trying to make it a fun one for the 3 of us because a challeging one it is :) love your to read you blogs when i get a chance to :)

  2. So wonderful! It really is amazing just how powerful those three little words are, coming from the mouth of an angel!

  3. This is so beautiful! You are doing such an incredible job of opening up this wonderland! I never ever thought about a mother just wanting to hear those words much less about the tragedy of the fact that some mothers will never hear them!

    Moreover, your writing depicts this incredible human being whose perspective is incredulously and, increasingly, appreciatively a real wonderland! I am moved and marvelling :-)

    That last sentence is a gem.

  4. I hope Norrin is 100% better darling and yes, the best feeling in the world to hear your child say that. He is progressing so well thanks to all your and Joseph's hard work.


AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.