Home > In Their Own Words > In Their Own Words – A Little Secret

In Their Own Words – A Little Secret

Ethan, I still love you …

Today was a pretty rough day for you, Ethan. It was for me, too.

It was hard for me to pick you up and carry you to the van with the other kids. I know it’s not what you wanted, but I didn’t want you to hurt yourself or someone else during the behavior you started to have.

I know there are times you don’t understand why things happen as they do. You don’t understand yet, because you’re only six! I hope that one day you’ll realize that the choices I have to make are to help you as you grow up.

When I see you scrunch your nose and raise your small fist, I can see you want to communicate with me, but simply aren’t sure how to do it. I try hard to keep you calm and ask what’s upsetting you, but sometimes that doesn’t work either. I hope you know I’m trying my best to be the mom you need. I’m pretty sure you see it, too. Your hugs and kisses tell me so. When I mess up, you even tell me it’s okay, and I can try again! I love when you tell me its okay to mess up, because I’m not perfect either. Sometimes I get frustrated, too, and say or do things I shouldn’t. That’s why I always come back and tell you I’m sorry when I mess up. I know you’re a very forgiving boy and that you’ll still love me too. When you tell me it’s okay, it makes my heart smile, because I see what a great and wonderful boy you’re growing up to be!

In the van, you screamed so many terrible things that you think about yourself. It made me sad to hear it. I wanted to cry when I heard you screaming such horrible things about yourself. It really hurt to hear how upset you were in school, and that you scratched your face so much. I wish I could have been there to talk with you, and make everything okay again.

I guess this is a part of life where you have to try finding new ways to handle a situation you don’t like. I don’t like hearing that you were hurting yourself again. I think you’re so special, Ethan!

You’re so smart, loving, caring, and everyone tells me how much they love you, too. You’re such an amazing little boy, even if you don’t see it yet. I see it, and I believe in you!

You said you hate yourself, even called yourself stupid and dumb. Ethan, I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. I love you during the good times, and even more during not so good times. I love you even when you call me names, and I still love you when you’re hitting me. I love you when you’re punching and kicking me, and I still love you when you try to bite me. I even love you when you scream that you hate me and then spit all over my face. I love you because God gave you to me. He knew that you were perfect for me before you were ever born. You have taught me to be patient, to listen closely, stay calm, and pray for direction when I can’t do it on my own. You taught me that I am a strong woman who can love more and more each day. You also taught me how to laugh and laugh, even on days I feel sad or grumpy. Your little laugh is contagious, and your eyes glimmer like the sunshine on a calm lake. You taught me not to take things for granted, like a hug, or kiss on the cheek, or our good night routine full of giggles. I want to thank you for teaching me so much Ethan. Without you in my life, I wouldn’t be the mom that Cheyanne, you and Isaac need. You don’t know it yet, but you’re teaching me more than I’m teaching you!

I think you’re one of the most amazing little boys a mother could ever have! I know there are times when you get frustrated and upset. I would too, if I had to deal with the same challenges you face every day. Life is hard enough without all the extra obstacles put in your way. It’s hard for grown ups, and we don’t have as many challenges as you do. You have been doing so great handling all the changes in your life. I know they’re not easy to deal with either. This is another reason you’re such an amazing young boy!

I want you to know a little secret, Ethan – there is nothing in this world that you can do or say to me, that will ever make me love you less. Nothing!

When you’re upset or feel less than great about yourself, I’m still here to hold you in my arms, and tell you just how special you really are. That’s one of the best parts of being a mom! You can tell me all your secrets, and they’ll be safe with me. I won’t ever love you less, but I can PROMISE that I will ALWAYS LOVE YOU MORE!

Ethan, having Asperger Syndrome doesn’t define who you are as a person in this world; no, not at all. It is you that defines who you are as a person. It is you who defines how amazing a person with Asperger Syndrome can be!

You are my son, and I love you more than life!

When others try to make you feel bad about yourself, and there will be some who try, you remind them that you’re a child of God! Remind them that in His eyes and mom’s, you are wonderful! You need to remind yourself of this, too, when you feel upset. The more you remember these things I tell you, the less people will be able to hurt you with mean words.

I can’t wait to see what an amazing man you will become. It makes my heart fill with joy, and my tummy feel like there are butterflies in it! I’m so proud to call you my son, Ethan. I’m so thankful God chose me to be your mom, because no one else could love you as much as me!

“I’ll love you always and forever!” has taken on a whole new meaning in my heart because of you. I am blessed to say, “God gave you to me!” I love you!

This “In Their Own Words” essay was written by Jolene, the mother of a son who has autism.

“In Their Own Words” is a series within the Autism Speaks blog which shares the voices of people who have autism, as well as their loved ones. If you have a story you wish to share about your personal experience with autism, please send it to editors@autismspeaks.org. Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.

  1. Kristine
    June 24, 2010 at 11:27 am

    OMG, I’m crying so hard that I’m going to have to re-read a lot of this again. Ethan reminds me so much of my Ryan. I love him so much that, at times, it hurts physically to see him go through some of the things he struggles with.

  2. Aimee
    June 24, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    This essay is so wonderful and brings a lump to my throat. It really puts forth what I, as I am sure others experience and feel often. It breaks my heart when I hear my daughter has had another meltdown at school and bites herself and screams, etc, and when she does that at home and we have to wait for it to pass. It is heartwrenching and I am sure we all go why us? But at the end of the day I still love my daughter for the person she is.

  3. Claudine salisbury
    June 24, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    My son James is an amazing person. As parents we want to protect our kids no matter what. As parents of AS kids, it’s the no matter what. I cry everyday, I feel proud everyday, I worry everyday, I love him more and more everyday! Kristine, you are right, it does hurt, alot! Thank you all for sharing your stories. Reading them has helped me so much. We are all just pieces of a puzzle! James is the piece that completes me!

  4. June 24, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I’m crying too. This speaks to all mothers- Absolutely beautiful.

  5. June 24, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    thank you for sharing this , it helps me also to see the not so differences in my . grandson than other kids. i like you get upset when hunter tells me the same things, yes it hurts but then he comes over says i m sorry with those big old beautiful and i remind myself that he is a special angel sent from god ..

  6. juliane
    June 24, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    i’m crying, as well. i’m a mother of twins with autism and 1 son with asperger’s. just this morning i had a situation similar to this with one of the twins.it’s hard to know what to tell them, at times. i try to talk to them as i would my other children. one of the twins doesn’t talk(they are 11). my other twin asks if he doesn’t understand. i try for the words. he gets so frustrated. i get frustrated inside and try to hide my tears. no matter what- we always say “i love you”. he didn’t understand why he had to do something for therapy. he was so angry.he said many things about me and himself. aftewards he gave me kisses and said he was sorry and would try for mom.when i was younger, doctors told me i would never have children. i’ve been blessed with 5. (2-autistic, 1-asperger’s,1-arnold’s chiari I malformation, 1-typical) i would be lost without all of them. of course, i wish they didn’t have these afflictions, but that’s who they are. THEY ARE WHOM I LOVE MOST IN THIS WORLD. no matter what! i could’ve written every word that Jolene wrote. it’s nice to know we all share in these moments. it’s a little sad though, too. juliane

  7. Alison
    June 24, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I started crying after the first few lines. I’m going to have to calm myself and then re-read this. I’ve been there too. I have two boys that I love more than anything in this world. My son with autism (PDD-NOS) is now 13, but we still have those heartbreaking moments daily. What you put into words was beautiful.

  8. Joanne
    June 24, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    This is beautifully done – my son is Asperger’s, but milder that what you describe, right now. I tell him all the time that God picked me to have him, and I believe that with all my heart. I think he is perfect – just perfect – and I wouldn’t trade him for anything. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Helen
    June 25, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Thank you for sharing. What a beautiful note to your son.

    Our story is very much the same. Our son has AS and we experience much of what you wrote. I feel the exact same way about him. I always tell him–I love you forever, always and no matter what. You have put into words many of the feeling I have–Thank you!

  10. Shannon
    June 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    OMG, I just want to hug you both! Beautiful essay.

  11. ileana morales
    June 26, 2010 at 1:05 am

    this is so beautifull… That’s exactly how I feel about David, my 17 year old son with autism. Ethan is a very lucky boy, to have a mother like you.- I’m sending this to all my friends….is just beautifull….Thank you

  12. Jessy
    June 26, 2010 at 1:40 am

    Oh, a waterfall of tears! But, I needed this, oh how I needed this. And right after we had a “bad day” and our son headbutted Dad in the nose. It actually looked broken. This is why I subscribe. To read, see, feel, smile, laugh, AND cry. To know we’re NOT alone. BIG Hugs from our family to yours. :)

  13. Audrey Castillo
    June 28, 2010 at 7:35 am

    God Bless you both. I think you spoke for us all. My son has PDD-NOS and so much of what you said to your Ethan is what I want to say to my Nathan. God has given us these special kids for a reason and our lives are better for it.

  14. Lynn Frazier
    June 29, 2010 at 11:46 am

    All I can say is “been there and still doing that”. My son is 17, totally non-verbal with autism. I could write a book on my experiences and you sum it all up in an essay. Kudos and a million stars!!!!
    Yes, we are mothers but we are Warriors too. We fight this autism battle every waking moment (and even when sleeping). But at the end of the day, we still love our child even more.
    God Bless.

  15. Victoria
    August 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    This touched me so much! My son is 7 and I am just now finding out about Asperger’s and finally realizing that there is explanation for his behaviors. I have dealt with his behavior on my own all these years and have experienced all your emotions. I will read and read this letter when the frustration of this syndrome gets the best of me and my patience is thin. I am so proud of my son! They can teach us how to have patience. It is comforting to know that others experience the same situation. Thank you so much for your letter and your son!

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