The other day I took Austin to speech therapy. The therapist told me she is done with her recent speech evaluation. She said that she will do an informal write up, so we can discuss what areas Austin needs to work. We were sitting in the waiting room and there was another mother present so the therapist did not go into too much detail. She did say that he is still struggling with the concept of emotions. He understands "scared" because when she asked, he said he was "scared of thunder". He does not understand "loved". This, hit me like a brick in the face. :(
The therapist explained that she had asked him if he feels "loved" when Mommie hugs him. He said "no". That instant my heart shattered! OH MY GOD! I cannot believe I am hearing this ... I know that he does not grasp the concept of emotions very well and this is expected with spectrum kids but to be honest, it didn't really help me feel any better about hearing this news. I said "But he tells me he loves me and I tell him I love him all the time!" (Many times a day.) Still, he doesn't associate this with being "loved". I am heartbroken. I know that my son is loved ... he knows I love him ... why doesn't he "feel loved"?
Later that day, I had to go to my workout class. The minute I was alone in my car, the tears filled my eyes and I thought "What am I missing?". "How can I get Austin to understand?" "He doesn't really feel "unloved" does he?" I can't even imagine him feeling this way.
The next morning I asked Austin "When Mommie gives you a hug, do you feel loved?". Austin's reply "No". 'When Grandma gives you a hug, do you feel loved?" Austin says "No". I start rhyming off names "When Daddy?" "No." "When Kaleigh?" "No." "When your teacher?" "No." "When Nana?" "No." "When Grandpa?" "No." So I ask, "Do you hug someone that makes you feel loved?". "Yes." GREAT, I thought, so I asked "Who is it?". Austin's reply, "My teddybear ...". I was stunned! (You know, my Father used to say to me, if I didn't want to hear the answer, don't ask the question! I really need to listen to my Father more!) I don't really understand this at all. I am trying but I don't. So I have started to explain what "loved" means and how Mommie and others show him love. I think he is starting to understand a little. It is so strange to me because when Austin is really upset about something, I ask him if he needs a hug and cuddle (he usually starts to cry ... poor little guy ... it's tough some days, he is just upset and can't say why, it's hard ...) and he comes running. I never put him down or let him go until he is ready. I always ask him before hand and he will say either "No, I need more cuddles Mommie" or "I'm good Mommie". This is so tough ... I know he knows we all love him. I know he will get it someday but it is breaking my heart for now.
The real crazy part of this story, when Austin was telling me he didn't feel loved by anybody but teddy, Kaleigh picked up my sadness immediately. She ran to me, grabbed a hold of my legs, hugged me as hard as she could and told me "It's okay Mommie, I love you!". Okay, now my heart is really mush! Kaleigh is so in tune to people's emotions, it's wild! Austin and Kaleigh are so different. Austin is more like me and Kaleigh is so much like her Daddy. They are both adorable children and I LOVE both of them so very much. That is what is most important.
I wait for the day when Austin tells me ... "Mommie, I feel loved ..." The day ...