"Are you OK, Mom?"
The question caught me off guard. I had a bit of a coughing fit because of a tickle in my throat as I was about to start my car. Seeing as we were the only two in the car, I was kind of in shock to hear a question like this asked of me. I looked at Kiddo and asked him, "Wait. What did you say?"
And he repeated himself: "Are you OK, Mom?" with a look of genuine concern on his face. I stumbled to answer him, "Yeah Kiddo. I just had a tickle in my throat."
"Go see Logan and Maya?"
"Yeah, we can go back home now." And I started driving back to our house because I know when he asks to see the dogs, he's done with being out and needs to go home to decompress.
He's never inquired about me. He's never asked how I was. Ever. I was a bit stunned that he not only asked but repeated it. Sometimes when I ask him to repeat things he has said, he gets shy and looks sad. Like he thinks he's failed at enunciating something clearly and then is unsure of being able to do so at all and will whisper it so quietly. So the fact that he not only asked this but did it twice, loud and clear, well butter my butt and call me a biscuit! Hot Damn!
The Kiddo has always shown empathy even though it's never in the usual way. (Like asking someone if they are OK.) Like most things with autism, I had to get used to it. That it wouldn't be in a way I expected. Or even the way that I needed it. As I learned his ways of expression, I guess he was also busy learning some of mine.
And isn't that what we have been working so hard all these years to do?
I guess what I am saying is I have to remember to honor his ways because he is trying his best to honor mine. I might think his ways of looking at life are quirky but I'm sure things like looking at people's eyeballs when you talk to them is pretty strange-sounding to him.
So I guess I'll keep meeting him in the middle because it's worth it.
So. Freaking. Worth. It.