It's one of Sean's favourite phrases.
It's constant. It's everywhere.
I've talked before about how Sean's OK with touch when he invites it. And boy, does he ever invite it. Demand is probably more like it.
Can I at least get a "please"?
It's funny how this behaviour is mommy-specific. Am I the one Sean comes to when he needs that comforting touch? Are Dad's hands simply too rough?
Or, am I the pushover and he knows I can't resist the request to connect?
The location doesn't matter. Anywhere there's a place where Sean can be next to me, he'll ask.
Right before bed is a given. It'll be late and I'll be doing the final walk-through, good-nights for the kids and I'll pass Sean's room.
"Mom, can you rub my arm?" and an appendage snakes its way out from under the blankets before I can even reply.
My response is always the same.
(sigh..big sigh) "Sean...."
"Oh, sorry Mom. That's OK."
You know I have to give in. You know it.
But could he ask a bit earlier? And not when he's already up in his loft bed?
I'm short. It's a stretch.
I'll rub his arm for a minute or two and then he's good for the night.
I know there will come a time when I will pass his room and not hear him call out. Then what will I do?
I'll miss it, that's what I'll do.
I'm lucky in the fact that Sean still wants to be by me or even sit on my lap - all 125 pounds of him.
Of course, this mother-son bonding moment always includes the requisite "rub me" but I know that I am capturing moments at age 13 that other moms have lost long ago.
I can still hold my son's hand.
I can still put my arm around his shoulder as I walk next to him.
He still acknowledges me in public.
If Sean ever models his sister, it won't be long before he too will be pretending he doesn't know me.
You never know when that moment will be taken away.
With autism, I'm not sure if it ever will be.
Thus, for now, I will relish the times when he crushes my legs because he sat on my lap while I had one leg crossed beneath me. I will relish the times when I am in the middle of typing an email, brushing my teeth, or finishing my dinner and he stands next to me asking to be rubbed.
And, even late at night, when I am tired and almost too short to reach, I will relish the times that he calls out through the darkness.
I will sigh....
But I will always give in.
Grateful for the extra seconds that I can steal from the world to be with my son.
For you never know when even that small moment is going to be lost....
And this time, it won't be autism but rather adolescence or adulthood, that is the thief.