There are so many things I love about my daughter; her autism doesn’t even come close to defining her:
I love the way she smiles. When she smiles, it’s like the sun shining so bright.
I love the way she concentrates when she’s lining up cards all over my floor. They follow no line, but to her, they’re perfectly straight.
I love the way she gets excited about shaving foam in the bath; the anticipation on her face when I squirt that tin into her little pudgy hand.
I love it when peek-a-boo causes her so much excitement that she squeals with delight.
I love it when my four year-old can make her laugh so hard that her whole body seems relaxed, caught up in that moment of abandonment.
I love it when she just wakes up in the morning and lies there, so still and so silent, wondering what the world will bring for her that day.
I love it when she tells me about the wonderful things she does at school; snippets of information that I have to interpret because she can’t, but just enough information to satisfy me for a week.
I love it when she asks me a question, knowing the answer but asking it anyway just to hear mine, as if to assure herself she’s correct.
I love the way she runs home from the bus, desperate to see her brother and sister.
I love it when she notices something that is so small to any of us, yet completely stands out to her.
I love seeing her engage with people she wouldn’t normally, initiating conversations that I never thought I’d hear.
I love it when she mixes her words and laughs at herself, then repeating the words all jumbled up again and again, laughing each time.
I love it when she enjoys her favorite songs, dancing along with no care in the world, no rhythm just movements, out of tune and no right lyrics, but completely immersed in the sound.
I love it when she shows me something that she’s just achieved, so completely proud of herself.
I love her commitment to life, to succeed; her determination to stay strong.
I love her innocence, the way she makes me promise to leave Santa a note, to explain she wants her stocking left downstairs and not in her room. When she puts her tooth under my pillow instead of hers, as she doesn’t want to be disturbed by the tooth fairy.
I love it when she’s anxiety-free, her mind allowing her that tiny bit of escape to wander free.
I love her hope, and her ability to never give up, her endless tries and her devotion to achieve things she wants to achieve.
I love the way she tried for months to click her fingers, and whistle, and the joy she shared when she achieved both things.
I love my child with Autism.
I love my child.