You scramble up on my lap and try to get my attention. With that mischievous glint in your big blue eyes, you place your palms on my cheeks and turn my face toward you.
“Hey, Buddy!” I say. “What’s up?”
You grin and reply, “BebebeBAYuh.”
“Oh yeah? Are you telling me a story? What else?”
You take my hand, look me straight in the eye, and slam my hand into your chest.
“Oh, you want something. What is it?”
Again, you ram my hand into your rib cage.
“Are you hungry?”
Your little face lights up as I recognize your need.
“What do you want, son? Use your signs!”
Slam! My hand meets your chest once more.
I take your hand and mold it into the sign for “eat.” You promptly stuff your sign up to my mouth.
“No, you do it,” I correct.
Impatiently, you sign it, this time using your own face.
You tug at my arm, as if to stress the urgency of your appointment with the refrigerator.
We pad off to the kitchen. You open the fridge and point to the juice.
“Oh, so you were thirsty!”
I pour your juice, lost in my own thoughts.
Oh my dear Andrew, how I long for the day when you will be able to tell me what is on your mind! The thought of you one day saying, “I love you, Mama,” is almost more than I can bear sometimes.
Autism has stolen your speech, but not your smarts. Every day I see the wheels turning inside your head, plotting your next adventure. As someone once said, just because you have no words doesn’t mean you have nothing to say. You just find a different way to say it.
I worry about your future. Will you ever be able to confess Jesus as your Savior out loud? Do you even understand our faith?
Sometimes I selfishly ask God to heal you—that this affliction would go away and you could lead a “normal” life. Other times, I marvel at how your disability draws other people to you and brings them joy. I realize that sometimes God chooses not to heal—and His reasoning is perfect. The apostle Paul served despite his infirmity, and he was used mightily by God! Maybe God has something like that in store for you, too. I just don’t know.
I hand you your cup, and you drink from it with gusto.
God, I don’t always understand Your will, but I will trust You.
You hand me your cup, finished with your juice. Satisfied, you say, “maEEEoh,” in that high-pitched squeal that you use when you are happy. You press your unpuckered lips to mine and plant soft, innocent little boy kisses.
These are your words, and they are precious.
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