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.
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.