Dear Bean,

Happy Birthday, my dear son. As I write this, in the pre-dawn of your birthday, I think back to nine years ago, in another pre-dawn, when you began your entrance to world. Right now, you’re still asleep, but I’m slightly surprised, since you are our rooster and wake the house before the sun on most mornings. I have a pan of bacon and french toast with fresh nutmeg (your favorite non-peanut butter food) in the oven, and I suspect the smell will waft up to you soon. I’m hoping, this quiet morning without distraction, it might be one of those rare days where you snuggle next to me and let me hug you. While I love hugs from all of my children, a hug from you is something special.

I know this year has been hard on you, with your disdain for change, but you’ve weathered it like a champ. When we started this journey as a retooled family, you were the child I was worried most about— but it turns out, you’ve been just fine. It seems you pack along your special issues, and you basically tell everyone else to take a flying leap. It’s been a joy to watch you deal with challenging situations with a certain flair and panache that surprised me. It makes me wonder what other wonderful things you keep inside the puzzle that is you.

Bean, this dance we do as mother and son is not an easy one– I don’t know how it is for other kids with autism and their mothers, but I know for us, as you struggle to teach me about you, and I try and set aside my own expectations and meet you on the field of who you actually are, I wouldn’t trade you for anything or anyone in the world. The steps of the dance will change as we both grow and learn to communicate, and that’s a beautiful thing- even if it’s unnerving sometimes. If you know nothing else, know this, my sweet son— come what may, I will always meet you.

I love you. Thank you for being my son. Happy Birthday!

Mama

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