Hugs and I Love Yous


msu-hats-off

I have openly shared before that my 13 year-old son is Autistic, bordering on Asperger’s Syndrome – for those that still use those labels. We talk about it openly with him and others as teaching moments for all of us.

One of the things for him is he has a very hard time with emotions. Understanding them, expressing them, knowing the nuances of the different emotions are all difficult for him. He can feel and understand anger and contentment pretty well, but even the nuances of anger – is it frustration? aggravation? anxiety? escape him.

A few months ago I realized we really needed to start working on some of these things. He has never liked to be touched, except on his terms. Even as a baby he would scream, kick and cry if you picked him up. He far preferred to lay on the floor where we were but not be touched. This has kind of stuck with him as he has grown. He does not naturally hug anyone and I can count the number of times he has spontaneously said, “I love you,” on one hand.  I love my children and want to hug them all the time. But, I have learned it is not what he likes so I have learned to not push him with it.

After a problem a few weeks ago he admitted he did not always know that we love him despite our saying it many times a day. We talked about the ways we show love to him and how we may get mad at him from time to time and not like his choices or actions but that we always love HIM. We decided to come to sort of middle ground on the hugs and I love  you so that he could draw on those as reminders that we really do love him, always.

Every night before bed he now comes and hugs me and says, “I love you.” It is not spontaneous. I know it is becoming a rote action, but we all think it is helping. He is calmer at night and he is going to bed in a positive mind frame. He is totally in control of the hug, how long it lasts, how hard he squeezes, but he is doing it.

It makes me cry sitting here writing about it. It is just not natural for him and I hope one day it will be. But, until then I will take my scheduled hugs and “I love you” for the wonderful thing they are.

18 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m sure he knows you love him and he loves you, even if he doesn’t show it in the way you expect. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you. We are learning. He has said he doesn’t “know” it. We are teaching him the signs that show we love him even when he doesn’t feel it inside him.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow this is a tough one Marci. As a Mom to five I could not imagine no hugs and kisses coming naturally? It saddens me for you both and I do hope its a stepping stone to many more hugs and I love U’s. My children’s security has always been Hugs and Love each and everyday (many times a day) from me and my hubs and family. I wish you well with this issue friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you Cheryl. It is “different.” It is finding other ways to express love to each other. We are working towards the emotion and understanding of it. That is really difficult for someone who can’t see outside their own view. We will get there, I know we will. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Blue Sky says:

    This was so very touching! Hugs to you ; )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you so very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing. I adore that pic of him as Peter Pan! If you are a natural hugger this would be hard, but please know that there are many people who are not touchy feely. I do not like to be touched and I hate giving hugs. At 3, my niece who is now 23, decided she wanted handshakes instead if hugs. There are other ways to show affection and appreciation. His ‘controlled’ hugs are so much more precious in my mind because he is going outside his ‘natural’ comfort level just for you – that is so much love right there. And the not knowing he loves you is just something kids go through. My son (a big hugger, I had to get used to it) will say things like that at times, but I do as you do and tell reassure him we love him. It will be fine, in its own way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you. We do the fist bump or bump elbows but the hug is my thing I know. When he said he didn’t feel loved it broke my heart. What I find most interesting is we have far fewer meltdowns at night and he is always calm when he comes to hug me. It will work out. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My son has sensory processing disorder which is on the spectrum, and these sorts of things are hard for him as well. It is difficult to remember that the way he expresses/feels emotions like love are not the same as us, like you we have adapted to his comfort level. He was very huggy with us when he was young (but only with my husband & me, not with anyone else including his brother), but once he became a teenager that pretty much vanished (he’s 19 now). A year or so ago I did start giving him a kiss on the head before bed & at random times & he seems to have adapted well to that, so I count it as a small victory 🙂

    Like

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Yes. Our biggest struggle is how to help him “feel” loved. It broke my heart when he said I don’t feel love. That is difficult to explain. This is working right now and hopefully we can talk about the feelings of contentment, trust, etc… Feelings are such a hard thing to teach!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Marci, being a mom to a severely mentally challenged daughter, I know exactly what you mean, and what you are going through. Well done for doing this bedtime routine, your whole family will benefit. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you. I know in the end it is helping all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lacey says:

    He’s also a boy and 13 at that. So that’s a tricky time anyway. I know that breaks a mama’s heart though, I’m sorry 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you. We are learning. It is finding what helps all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. spearfruit says:

    A wonderful effort on his part – I think someday it will become natural for him. How a lovely day my friend Marci. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Thank you! I hope it does. Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

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