Evening Ritual

He's beautiful, so calm and peaceful, asleep in his bed. He lies under a weighted blanket, stuffed animals on all sides of his head, fulfilling whatever sensory needs he has. I wonder what's happening under those curly locks, inside that amazing brain. Is he dreaming of the day gone by? Imagining tomorrow? Being chased by monsters or petting the cat?

I put my finger in his semi-curled hand, and feel his grip, his fingers warm and soft. Is he aware I'm with him? Does it matter?

I lean over and whisper into his ear, "Never forget: you can do anything you want. I believe in you." Sometimes he stirs ever so slightly. Once or twice I detected the trace of a smile.

Not wanting to wake him, I get up to leave. Before I do, though, I turn back to gaze upon him one last time, trying my best to capture a mental image I can keep with me. These days are going by so fast now.

And I wonder, will my words make their way into his mind? Do they have any effect?

Does it matter?

I don't know, but I do know that the very act of saying these words, this non-believer's prayerful affirmation, fills me with hope and joy.