Friday, January 8, 2010

The best Christmas present.

I'm back after a long vacation while family was here. I'm sorry for the stall in posting, but I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season and a fantastic start to 2010!!

I have a lot of catching up to do and that means a lot of posting. That said, I'm going to try to focus on the important things and will get to everything when I do!

First things first.

If you've been reading this blog for very long, you know about my gorgeous and amazing Abbi girl. She is a joy and shows me everything incredible and beautiful that I would miss were it not for her presence in my life. She keeps me in awe every single day and I know I am the luckiest mother in the world to have her and Anna.

Still, there are struggles, because of her Autism and developmental delays... struggles that have nothing to do with HER, but with the Autism/Sensory filter through which she has to experience the world around her. A lot gets lost in translation and that can make it tough.

She is mostly non-verbal. She had a huge language burst this last fall when she started using a communication device we had on loan (we are trying to get a permanent one for her). The growth was phenomenal for her. 30 words in so many days, both verbally, and on the device. That more than doubled her previous vocabulary. AMAZING!!

The words were mostly functional things like "this," "drink," "play," etc. It opened so many doors, but still kept one shut... relationships. Because of her Autism she likes to stay mostly in her own world, with precious brief visits into ours.

Sure we have our moments, where she looks in my eyes, or sits on my lap and and snuggles, like this beautiful experience she had with my mom when she was here.

I love her more than my own soul, and even though she can't tell me she loves me, we have silent conversations like this as often as she is able.

Still, most of the time there is a wall between us that keeps me from being able to build the kind of bond with her that mothers so often crave with their children where I know SHE knows that I love her and would do anything for her. I wonder sometimes if she craves the opportunity for more too. It can be hard sometimes wondering if your child views you more as a caregiver rather than the comforter, nurturer, and mommy that envelops that deep connection that goes beyond anything external. Some days I swear I do nothing but get snacks, change diapers, and fix things for her. Some days she just doesn't want interaction, and I have to respect that.

After 8 years I was really concerned I may never be able to have that with her, like I do with Anna, and it breaks my heart because it is something I so very much want to share with her.

But then... completely out of the blue on Christmas morning... she called me Mom.

She called *me* mom. Not anyone else. Its not just a "word" - it means something. I'm her mom. She knows it. She knows who I am to her and she called me by name.

She did it again and again, and now... anytime she wants me or needs me she calls "Moooom" just like any 8 year old should and I come running. I come running and hug her in a big squeeze, which she loves, and I soak it in. I can never get tired of hearing that.

And I can't think of ONE better Christmas gift than that.


  1. I am crying like a big ol' idiot over here. I just knew it would happen for you two and that day has come.

    I love you and I love our dear Abbi, our favorite little Boog. She is amazing and so are you.

    Love you.

  2. My eyes are welled with tears. I don't know a whole lot about autism, and never realized this aspect of the struggle for you guys. Now as a mom, I can't even imagine how hard it must be and how heartbreaking to wonder what you wondered. You really did get the best present ever. What a huge breakthrough, and what an amazing reassurance for you. She is absolutely gorgeous - you take such great pictures of her. You are amazing, lady. :)

  3. that is such a blessing. Truly!!!!

  4. Amazing. I have chills reading this, Kristen! So happy for you both!

  5. Wow! That is such an amazing story to hear! I know that Abbi has always known you are her mama, but now she knows the word that goes with what she has always known you to be in her heart! What a wonderful gift to have.
    I love you guys so much... Kisses and Hugs to you all!

  6. Oh, Kristin! What a beautiful gift. I love the way you paired the announcement with the picture of her looking slightly proud, slightly embarrassed, but all aglow and in love with her mom.

  7. I am in happy tears reading this. What an awesome Christmas gift :)

  8. Kristin, I am new to your blog so I didn't know about Abbi. Your post has brought me to tears. I am a mother of two children with special needs ... now age 18 and 16. My son has Autism (Asperger Syndrome) and my daughter has Down Syndrome. Many of the feelings you stated are ones I share ... deep love for my children but wondering if they know/feel that love, seeing the world from a different perspective and definitely a different pace. Being able to cheer when milestones are met ... and still wondering if some milestones will ever be met. I am soooo happy for you that Abbi has had this breakthrough and hoping that more joy and wonder fill this year for you and your family.

  9. Tears are welling up. What a lovely gift!

  10. Oh Kristin~how wonderful! Such a wonderful gift, and that Abbi has continued to call you mom? Such a breakthrough! Hugs and kisses to everyone!

  11. That is so great. You always knew you were her mom and visa versa but now it's here to stay!

  12. Oh sweetie! all (happy) weepie here!! :D

  13. You brought tears to my eyes. I can't imagine how rewarding it must be for you, to have that validation. I am blessed with my children that we don't have these struggles, yet I sometimes think I take it for granted - you must, *every, single day* thank God for your beautiful girl who gives you this gift!

  14. Kristin,

    I'm SO happy for you and Abbi! That is such an amazing experience. I can't begin to imagine how happy you were. *hugs*

  15. That's so amazing! I am so happy for the both of you and this tremendous breakthrough!

  16. Kristin,
    That is such wonderful news. Its and absolute blessing, and I am so happy for you and Abbi. I know the feeling well, as my daughter had a developmental delay and didn't talk. We ended up taking her to speech therapy which helped greatly. It is such a blessing to hear her talk and it brings a smile to my heart whenever I hear her speak, and I know hearing Abbi call you "mom" makes you feel the same. So happy for you.

  17. Kristin - I came looking for a soup recipe and I found this WONDERFUL post. I know the feeling you have, as I have them, too. I was convinced that if I just vanished one day, Brady wouldn't even notice. Then, we had a moment like you and Abbi had....I am no longer convinced that I am invisible. When he wrapped his tiny arms around me and whispered "good night, mom", I wept for an hour. I am so happy for you, and for Abbi!

    Now, off to find that soup recipe!