One of the hardest things about Captain Adventure's autism, for me, is That Thing where he is emotionally disconnected; it's the thing that worries me most when I think about his future.
He's That Guy, you know? The one who will just...walk away, right in the middle of the conversation, because, well, HE'S done. He'll say extremely rude things, and not get why it made you mad.
Social skills remain extremely important, in our day to day lives - for good reason. Without them, we'd be at each others throats all the time.
So when I'm in a mood to worry about his future, I frequently start there. How will he get and keep a job? Will he have friends, a wife, children of his own? Will he love them? Will they KNOW he does?
Personally, I find loving my kids to be the payoff for all that huff and bother.
Well. That, and being able to say, "Why yes, that crazy-beautiful, wicked-smart, artistic prodigy ball of pure AWESOME *is* one of mine!"
...like I really had much to do with it...they just CAME that way. All I do is buy them supplies, try desperately to keep up with them,and then take credit for their successes while conveniently glossing over the stinky bits. Sweet gig, huh?!
But I digress.
So last night, I was putting Captain to bed. We hadn't had a particularly smooth process, there - I'd let him go too long on the computer AND we'd let him stay up too late. He fought me tooth and nail, the whole way.
But eventually, I was snuggling up with him in his bed, talking about Best Part / Worst Part (our daily review), and I was starting one of my Worry Bouts.
Then I was doing the final bit of our bedtime ritual.
"All right, mister. Night-night, sleep tight, sweet dreams, I'll see you in the morning - I love you."
Usually, he says nothing, just rolls over and sighs. Sometimes he'll ask for the door to be left ajar, or a light to be turned off, or for daddy to use headphones if he's still watching something on TV downstairs.
Last night, from the darkness, his little voice sing-songed: I love you, too.
Words the rest of us toss off all the time - stimulus / response, I love you / love you too.
From my Captain, they're rare and treasured jewels.
He loves me too.
I am the luckiest Mommy in the whole wide world.