I am guilty of taking things for granted. The worst part of it is that it took me hearing another parent mention she is waiting to hear her daughter say "I love you" when it hit me. For those who don't know this, emotions are not usually expressed by persons who are autistic. Most children learn emotions through pictures on paper. This is not instinct to them. They are unable to interpret facial expressions or feelings, etc.
I can remember when Puppy was 4 years old, we would go everywhere together and I'd have him in his car seat as we rode around. He was non-verbal then. I would look at him through the rear view mirror and say to him, "I love you." I did this several times everyday because in my mind I wanted him to know that he was with me because I wanted him to be, I made a decision to bring him home with me, and he was loved.
During this period, I was still unaware that Puppy was autistic, and I was just trying to get him to speak, to repeat words. Well, my silly act of trying to make him talk by repeating "I love you" finally paid off.
Today, Puppy tells me and I tell him how much we love each other. We've been doing it back and forth for years that I had forgotten how important those three little words really are. I can't imagine those words not being a part of our lives. It was and still is what keeps us bonding with each other.
In an earlier post I told about how I received my first hug from Puppy. I report that this has not happened again. I cherish that one hug. It was honest and I felt it came from his heart. But I am also certain that we will share many more hugs in the years to come. I'm not sad about it, I wait for it with anticipation. Why? Because Puppy loves me...and I love him.