Autism,  Family,  mommyblog,  Parenting

The lost little moments: A story on autism

**This post contains affiliate links that I do make a small profit from. All items found in this article, are great ways to raise awareness, educate, and empower children and parents who live with AUTISM!**

You know that feeling of pure joy you get when your child comes running into your arms whenever you get home? It doesn’t matter if you were gone all day or for a few minutes, they just come running and want all your love in the form of extra bear hugs and smooches. Or how about that precious moment of taking your child to the store to run a quick errand, which is just an excuse to spend a little one on one time with them? These little moments seem to get away from us. These little moments can melt your heart and remind you that all the struggles in parenthood are worth it.

For me, these precious little moments are often times lost or missing with our oldest boy and our youngest girl. These precious moments take on a whole new meaning when you have a child with autism. Hugs come sparingly, and when you master to get a genuine hug in without constant squirming to get out of it, it tends to mean more and is celebrated. I can tell you the last time he gave me a genuine hug and it was Saturday around 4 pm, right after a session in Play Therapy where he was brave and touched slime that was just too much sensation for him. He then came by me on the couch in the lounge room, grabbed his tablet, and insisted I pace my arms around him. He needed me in that moment of embrace, but what he will never know, is I needed him to need me. I needed to know that my huggable little boy was still there.

Other little moments that seem to be lost somewhere in space are the looking into your child’s eyes as they tell you some elaborate story of their day. With our four year-old, who has just started school this year, gets so excited to tell me about her day with her teacher. I can look in her eyes and see the excitement. With our son, the only thing he gets excited to talk to us about is dinosaurs. I know he’s truly excited to tell us all about the cousins to the Tyranosaures Rex, but I never get to see those excited blue eyes for more than a split second. He just cannot keep his eyes on you, it’s too difficult for him. These are little moments that, as parents, we just kinda take for granted, but for me they are the little moments that just remind me of how different my babies are. Little moments that seem to slip away.

We recently started taking our two year old little girl to a daycare/preschool, to help prevent any social regression with her older siblings now both in school. In typical play settings, you will often find Piper just wandering around in her own little world. Playing with rocks and dirt; completely content with being by herself. Sure, we can get her to play or at least follow the other kiddos with enough prompting, or more so if her big bubba and sissy are there. So, when I received a picture of her playing side by side another little girl without any prompting, I cried like a baby. A regular moment for any other parent, or even for my older daughter, but for Piper, it was truly something special. It told me that she is ok. It made all the other moments where she is on the playground by herself, or when she walking into her school’s building without so much as a look back, seem like a lifetime ago.

Other special moments, like watching your kid run around with his soccer or basketball team, or wanting to hold your entire hand as you walk, and not just barely holding the pinky. All of these that, as parents of “typical” kids, we take for granted. It’s not until your sitting among other moms, bragging about how many words their kiddo is saying, or how they just constantly need hugs and reassurance that you realize how few and spread-out those moments are. Those special moments that every parent dreams about, truly are lost and missed if you are an autism parent.

So, I’ll take my awkward 10 sec hug this morning, and I’ll wait for the next time he truly needs an embrace from me. I’ll cherish it like it will be the last one, because one of these days, it just might be. I’ll save that picture of her playing side by side with another girl, and I’ll reminisce over it as she plays with the rocks at the park. I’ll take time out of my day to look into those beautiful blue eyes that I helped to make, even if they aren’t staring back at me. I’ll take the moments we do get, and place them in a special part of my heart. I will cherish them and embrace all moments along the way.

Next time your child comes running to give you a hug, or eagerly stares at you as they tell you a story, don’t let those moments pass you by. Don’t shrug them off as just ant other moment and take them for granted, because believe me, as a parent of children with autism, those moments are rare. To all my autism mamas and dads out there, cherish those lost moments. Don’t be sad because there aren’t many, be grate-full for the moments you do catch, and be there to catch any more that come swooping your way.




  • GiGi Eats

    EXACTLY!! So is my HUSBAND. My husband is the most intelligent person on the face of the planet – he just is socially awkward! But that in the scheme of things is NOTHING!!

  • Stephanie

    In some ways, I know what you mean about the non-hugs. My youngest doesn’t have autism or anything, but he thinks it’s funny to say no to hugs and kisses at bedtime. Now, he lets me give him a kiss as long as I “take it back” because I make a funny sucking noise to do that. It was bothering me to not get hugs and kisses before bed, but he still lets me all day long. I’m sure it’s hard, but I also think you are doing great for your children by not forcing anything if they aren’t comfortable.

  • Danielle Old Soul Mama

    Wow that was heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. I am so touched by this. You do tend to take those times for granted…and when you realize it…they’re already gone. My girls are 11 and 13 now…they used to hold my hand everywhere, let me rock them in the chair and want me to sing them to sleep. Now they want to talk about boys, music and hanging out with friends. Oh man those moments are soo precious. My son is just about to turn 8 months and I find myself putting my phone down, turning the tv off and just staring at him because now I know how quickly these moments just become memories.
    You’re writing is amazing. Thank you for pointing this out and helping us all remember.

  • Jennifer

    THIS. I love THIS. I’m a special needs mom too and I will admit that I get a little envious when my friends talk about how their child started walking or talking OR EVEN WAVING.. Our children are literally a month apart but since Jaxson is developmentally and intellectually delayed he can’t do any of that. Thank you for shining light on Autism!

  • Danielle

    Awwww you bought so many memories rushing back.
    My quirky boy is 13 now and more than happy to kiss and cuddle.
    We went throught some challenging years but came out the other side better parents and better humans.

  • shan walker

    Wow. What a heartful post of something so private and personal. Thanks for sharing that and know that it will stay with me and affect how I react to moments with my kids. My favorite of your words were, ‘be grateful for the moments you do catch and be there to catch any more that come swooping your way.

  • Donna

    Love, Love, Love This! My best friend has an autistic son. Its been such a humbling experience watching their journey together. Mamas like you are my heroes. Your strength, resilience, and unconditional love is such an example. Keep sharing your stories!

  • Rachel

    I try not to underestimate the little successes and wins other parents have. My nephew was singing the ABC’s last night. He is 5. It shouldn’t be shocking but nothing like that has EVER happened before.

  • Adrienne

    This is so sweet. I know I take for granted the hugs and kisses I get from my youngest, and even though my oldest doesn’t have Autism she still has similar reactions to my hugs and affection. This is such a heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing.

  • Tal

    Thank you for sharing that. You are a good strong mom. I almost feel guilty for all the things you mention we take for granted. I have twin four year old boys that EXHAUST me and TEST me every step of the way. I need to be grateful that they are acting like normal four year old boys and it is their job to do this.

  • Mommy Dearest

    Crap I hate it when you make me cry at work! No you don’t get the hugs or the eye contact like you get from Penny, but I see the look on their faces when you are around, or when they come to you and you are their sun and moon. There is not a dino or ball that means more to them than you or Lee. You both are doing a great job and you are helping so many other’s walk this bumpy road with you. I am always proud to call you my Babygirl!

  • Helene

    You are such a strong and awesome mother Kayla! All of your kids look so cute and adorable and I am sure the way you treat and love them, will make them strong, kind and well behaved. Enjoy every little moment you spend with them.

  • Lexi

    This is such a beautiful read! I love how you cherish those moments, but also know they unique ways to connect with your littles through conversations about teachers and dinosaurs. Those are the real special memories!

  • Amy

    Thank you for sharing such an intimate glimpse into your world as the mom of a child with special needs. Your children are blessed to have your love, even in the moments that are super hard. I’m grateful you got your hug. <3

  • Marissa

    All those little moments of parenthood can easily be swept over by the stresses. It’s always important to take a moment, breathe in the joy, and let go of everything else.

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