You think they don’t listen. But they do. You think they don’t understand your parenting. But they do. You think they can’t love you the way a neurotypical child loves. But they can. You just have to notice because it won’t be expressed in ways you might expect. It may be subtle but it’s there and it speaks loudly when you pay close attention.
If I can recall correctly, Jonathan was on a school trip and we were encouraged to send notes, letters, and cards of encouragement while the class was away. He must have been 14 or 15 at the time. So Aspergers and teenager, where the common form of communication was a few grunts that could be interpreted as a favorable or unfavorable response depending upon the ‘conversation.’ Not one for writing because the physical act of writing was difficult and, well, he was an Aspie teenager, we were surprised to receive a letter from him. I’m sure it was an assignment, but he’s charmed his way out of classwork before, so he must have wanted to do it. Assignment or not, it was what he wrote that mattered…Dear Mom and Dad:
I want to thank you for your letters. I know that sometimes we have our rough edges but we always work through them. I just wanted you to know that, believe it or not, I’m proud to be your son and I love you both even if you barely see me. You always encourage me and push me to my goals even though I give up too easy. So to sum up this letter, I just want to say thank you for everything cause I’ll probably never say it out loud.
P.S. I will continue to do my best.
No hyperbole or unnecessary pleasantries. A touch of jocularity. Yes, that’s my Jonathan and he loves and appreciates us. And it’s okay if he never says it out loud.
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