When I opened the door to our loft, Emma came tearing up on her scooter shouting, “Mommy’s back! It’s Mommy!”
As I dropped my bags and opened my arms to greet her, she sped away. Nic meanwhile rushed up to me and threw his arms around my waist. “Mommy!” he cried, “It’s so good to have you home. I missed you so much!”
As I hugged Nic and then Richard, I said to Emma, “Hey. I want a hug from you too. Come over here, Em! Remember? Put your arms around and …”
“Squeeze!” she shouted, while complying. She peered up at me, with an odd expression on her face. Then she pointed to my face and said, “It’s Mommy. Mommy came back,” as though she hadn’t been sure I would.
“I’m back Emmy. It’s so good to be back.”
“Yeah, Mommy came back. Mommy stayed at Granma’s house. Mommy had to go away,” she said, nodding her head sympathetically.
“It’s okay, Em. Now I’m home. I’m not going anywhere.”
Nic then played five different songs on his new Alto Sax for me, two new songs which he composed for the piano and then plugged his electric guitar into his amp and riffed on several more. Emma scooted around on her scooter and eventually it was time for everyone to go to bed.
“Mommy come to Emma’s room,” Emma said, taking me by the hand.
“Yes!” I said following her.
“Mommy’s back,” Emma whispered as she snuggled down under her blanket.
“Yes, Em. I’m home,” I said stroking her cheek.
Later Nic expressed his upset that I was away for almost three weeks. He was able to tell me that he didn’t like that I was gone for such a long time. But Emma… Emma doesn’t have the words to express her upset nor does she have the ability to ask me why I was away. I can only hope she understands I had to go for work, but I don’t know that she does understand. When she looked up at me earlier it was with a mixture of shock at seeing me again and happiness. I don’t know whether I’m reading more into her expression than was actually there, but given that she isn’t able to ask me, who knows what reasons she applied to my absence.
“Go swimming with Mommy,” Emma whispered.
“Yes,” I said. “We’ll do that tomorrow.”
“No, not going to go back to Aspen,” she said, holding my hand.
“Nope. Tomorrow we’re going to spend the whole day together.”
We were quiet then. “Mommy sing?” Emma said after awhile.
“Sure, Em. Which one – Swing Low, Sweet Chariot or Summertime?”
“Swing Low first, then Summertime,” Emma said.
“I love you Em,” I whispered.
“So much,” Emma finished.
For more on Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to: www.EmmasHopeBook.com