Have you ever had a dream that was so real, so vivid that when you woke up you weren't sure if it had really happened or not?
Last night I had a dream that my sons were playing. Tyler and Derek were setting up a Star Wars battle on the kitchen table with all of their figures. They weren't fighting over them--they were TALKING. And by talking, I mean REALLY TALKING. They were discussing who would win in a fight--Darth Vader, Darth Maul, or the Emperor. Derek did not have autism. He was a typically developing child. I'd been given a tiny glimpse at what life would have been like...IF my child was not on the spectrum.
I continued to watch them, as if from behind a sheet of glass. A blonde-haired, blue-eyed child and a brown-haired, brown-eyed child were standing next to each other. They were almost the same size. They were more than brothers, they were friends. Laughter erupted now and then and words poured out of their mouths without any effort. It was beautiful...
Then Derek saw me. He smiled and said, "Mommy!" the way he normally does. He ran over and gave me a hug. He looked at me and said clearly, "I love you." He didn't pronounce it, "I ov oo." I was so stunned I couldn't even respond. Then he ran off giggling, and I woke up.
Did it hurt to wake up and return to my real life? No.
Although my life is different than I expected it to be, it's all I know. And the first thing Derek did this morning was envelop me in a bear hug. He didn't say I love you or good morning or even hi...but he smiled. I knew he was happy to see me.
What do I make of my dream? Was it a glimpse at the life I'm missing? No. I'm not "MISSING" anything. It was just a dream. My life is full of laughter and love. Would I like it if my kids played together more often and could talk to each other without any trouble? You bet. But I believe this dream is within reach. It may not happen tomorrow, or even this year...but just last night the boys were acting out a scene from Star Wars together and giggling hysterically. Derek couldn't say the lines, but he was definitely able to pretend to fall over dead, and that's all Tyler wanted him to do. It worked perfectly.
Sometimes words (and dreams) are over-rated. My kids are pretty amazing.