Eight years. Has it really been eight years since I lay in that hospital bed waiting for you to make your arrival? Has it been eight years since I marveled at how small you were? Eight years since the first feeding, eight years since the first diaper change, eight years since I first tried to fit your little arms into a shirt, certain that I'd never get them in without breaking them.

And here you are eight years later and I wonder how I ever thought I would break you. You are strong and resilient. Even when you spend almost three hours skating alone at the birthday party you were invited to you leave with a smile on your face. Even though you fell many, many times you talk about what a great time you had. You are happy for your classmate.

Eight years ago I had no idea what a remarkable gift I had been given. I dreamed of you conquering the world with your brilliance, I dreamed that the word 'genius' would fail to describe all that you would be. You would be friendly, well-liked, one who draws people to himself, just like your dad. I thought you were fulfilling that dream when with every appointment the doctor pronounced you healthy and ahead of all milestones. I thought you were fulfilling that dream when you named each letter of the alphabet shortly after your second birthday.

Eight years later I slowly unwrap the true gift of who you are. I am familier with the terms Asperger Syndrome and receptive language delay. I help you walk through a world where people give off a thousand social cues that go unrecognized by you. I become alert to the cues that tell me a meltdown is on its way. And I watch you talk to everyone without fear, confident that your words are of complete importance to them. I hear you ask questions that even in all our wisdom we can't answer. I realize that your brilliance is not definable by numbers or by tests. I learn to measure remarkable in a different scale.

Eight years ago you were nothing more than the potential of all that you would be, a seed newly planted. For eight years I have watched you grow, watered you with tears and showered you with hugs and kisses. You have made me laugh harder than I ever thought I could laugh, you have made me cry harder than I ever thought I could cry. I wonder in one moment how you will ever learn everything you need to know, and in the next I wonder how your brain can possibly contain all of the facts that you have memorized. I try to sound smart when you ask me questions.

Today you are still full of potential, only now I will not pretend that I can prescribe your course. I will help you set your sails, turn you so the wind is at your back and let you sail where you will. Wherever you go, I know the destination will be as remarkable as you.


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