See Me, Feel Me

Posted by on May 7, 2011 | 7 comments

I am endlessly fortunate that Jack is an openly loving child.  I am all too aware that autism often robs mothers of affectionate children, and I relish every hug and kiss and description.

Yes, description.  Hugs from Jack come with an ongoing narrative, to make sure you’re aware of what’s happening.

“You feel my arm coming around you like a hug,” he’ll say.  “You feel me hugging you.”

The Hugger

Indeed, I do, as his hugs make an impression.  Jack hugs me like he’s either trying to strangle me or whisk me away to Inspiration Point.  His hugs are intense.

I’m not sure, though, why Jack feels like he needs to explain what’s happening.  Perhaps it’s a result of years spent in Occupational Therapy, where he’s learned how to process touch and feelings and delicate sensations.  Lately, he’s been narrating emotional displays by others as well as his own.

When I ask if he’s happy about something, he says, “do you see my smile?  I have a big smile.”  He does, too.

Happy Jack

The characters in his books who are surprised seem to flummox him: “What is he ‘o-ing’ about?”


Jack also seems to be thrown by sweat: “What is the water coming off of him for?”  Try explaining anxiety to a child who is anxious at the drop of a hat.  Easier said than done.


My child is loving and extremely verbal.  It’s endearing to me, but I wonder if talking out every emotion will be a lifelong thing.

Jack’s future wife will be very patient, and very lucky.


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