a birthday letter to my son

My dear little one,

Today is your birthday Noah! You entered this world four years ago. And for some reason, four seems like the transition from baby—to big kid. So we have decided this is going to be the year of all the big boy stuff. Well, as much as you’ll allow and be okay with. You are quite the outspoken one when things don’t go your way. We joke that with that type of determination you will make a great CEO.

There are so many things I want to tell you and so many things I want you to know. I tell you these things all day every day, I just hope you truly hear me. And I know I hug you and squeeze you and smother you in more kisses than you probably like—but it’s because I need you to know how loved you are Noah. And that’s nonverbal communication at its finest. ;)

You’re growing up little one. You’ve gotten taller, stronger and more confident this past year. And you actually grew two shoe sizes. Your dad still doesn’t believe me on this one. He teases me that I just want to buy you cute new shoes, which is true, but not the case this time. You’re just getting bigger kid, right before our eyes.

This is the first birthday we’ve had where I feel time is going too fast. And I kinda wish it would slow down so I can keep you my baby forever. I wish I realized how precious time was sooner. But our days are pretty tough little one. And I thought if we hurried up and got to your “good” age, then everything would be different. Everything would be better. But I’ve realized there is no better, Noah. You are already the best.

I’ve learned you are exactly who you are supposed to be in this life.

I am learning that we have nothing but time, and you will do things at your own pace. On your own timeline. You are teaching me to honor that. And that one’s childhood is not one size fits all. I want to celebrate you more kid. All the silliness and uniqueness that you are. I want to cherish every incredible moment I am lucky enough to spend with you. And I hope you continue to teach me all the important things in this life because you have, and for that—I am forever grateful.

While you don’t really do any of the typical things other four years old do—like play, or little league, have friends, or even talk...we try our best to embrace all you are Noah, and meet you where you are. It hasn’t been the easiest and we may mess up, a lot, so please be patient with us. All we’ve ever known is the “typical” route, so we’re all just winging this together.

Sometimes you surprise me how intuitive you are buddy, and how well you can read people. You let me know by your demeanor or actions if a certain person is “good” before I even know. You let us know a change in the weather, especially when allergies are high, and you let me know when there is a full moon—you tend to get pretty rambunctious on those days. Noah, you communicate without saying a word in a world where talking is like breathing. How unbelievable is that?

You basically have superpowers kid, but because of this you have to work harder than most. It’s not fair, trust me I know. Like you already don’t have enough on your plate. But you know what else I know little love...that you are capable of anything.

You need to believe that and never forget it, because people will tell you differently. People will tell you—you can’t. People may doubt you, or undermine you. They may tell you—you don’t belong, or because you can’t speak you are not aware or not listening. Foolish, I know. So you continue to smash those stigmas Noah. You show the world the mold can be broken, and that having autism doesn’t define nor limit you.

And we’re going to do it together kid. I will be here as much or as little as you need me. I will catch you when you fall. I will be patient when you don’t always understand because it’s not your fault. I will guide you but not dictate your life. I want you to be free to be the kid you want to be Noah, not the kid society thinks you should be.

You are an individualist, a thinker, observant and strong willed. You live life to fullest and see the beauty in the simplest of things. You are so brave, and resilient. You have a light in you that shines so bright, and a love within you that doesn’t need words to be felt. I think we could all learn a lot from you.

We love you pudge, more than anything in the world. You keep being you—and we’ll be right here beside you.

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