C stopped saying things like "hello" and "goodbye" months ago. Gone were "Mommy" and "Daddy." No more running to get a squeeze. In fact, he stopped asking for almost anything. He just went away.
So imagine the feeling when, this morning, C ran toward me, arms outstretched, and uttered the words above.
Think of something your child says to you, a little endearment, a loving turn of phrase. Now imagine that going away forever. You would never take such utterances for granted again. In this way, autism offers its bittersweet gifts.