It is my favorite moment of the day, five days a week.
Those mothers out there who have a child with severe autism, as well as one or more neorotypical children, will know what I am about to describe.
Because they all have a moment like it.
A moment each day when their hearts nearly burst right out of their chests.
For me, it is the moment when I pick my daughter up from school.
She attends a private kindergarten. She turned five just two days past the age cut-off for public kindergarten. I did not want her to sit out one more year, and she can attend first grade at our local public school next year if she attends private kindergarten. So despite the significant cost of tuition, I signed her up for a great dual language kindergarten close to our home.
At the end of the school day, teachers bring the students out into a large open area in the middle of the building. The kiddos sit in a line with their classmates and wait to be picked up.
Parents walk down a long hallway to get to this waiting area. You can't see the children until you get to the end of the hallway and look around the corner.
THAT moment -- that moment when I peek around the corner and spot my daughter -- is my absolute favorite moment of the day.
There she sits, totally in the moment, always with two or three or more friends.
Talking, talking, talking.
Giggling, imagining, showing off toys that she stashed in her backpack on the way out the door that morning.
Sharing the secrets of little girls.
I stand there as long as I can before she notices me or before I start to wonder if the teachers think I am a freak.
I want to freeze time.
The other parents come and go. They round the corner and holler for their children. They exchange a few words with the teacher and off they go.
"WAIT," I want to tell them. "Stop and look at your child. Your son or daughter is amazing. Look what your child can do. It is a gift."
It is only a moment.
But it is such a treasure.