Through the Rolodex: A Mother’s Reflection on Memories – Finding Cooper’s Voice

As a mama I often feel like my mind is a Rolodex of memories.

With four babies, I have so many of them.

Births to birthdays, first smiles to first steps. Preschool graduation. Home runs. Road-trips.

Some are readily available. Resurfacing often, bringing simultaneous smiles and tear to my eyes.

But others, they are buried down deep, seemingly forgotten, until something reminds me.

A sound. A smell. Another child. My younger babies doing what the now older ones once did.

And there it is. A memory of something not forgotten. Bringing me to another place and time.

This afternoon the doorbell rang for my son Sawyer. A little girl asking him to play. He is 11 going on 16.

I yelled out…’Sawyer, it’s for you! It’s always for you!’

He’s popular that one. So many friends. So many activities from hockey to baseball. Play dates to birthday parties.

And just like that. A memory. Jostled inside me. One way down deep.

Of me sitting in my kitchen. A social worker asking me to describe our hardest autism day.

Cooper, then five, dancing to Blue Mountain Mystery. Twirling. Blissfully unaware.

Locks on the doors. Locks on the windows.

Me, begging for help with a fence. Admitting I couldn’t keep him safe. Admitting how hard it was.

And the little boy, my Sawyer, all of three, painting beside me.

Talking nonstop about dinosaurs and Paw Patrol. Always filling the air with words. So much to say.

Me. Shushing him. Needing to hear what the person across from me was saying.

And then Sawyer climbing onto my lap. Turning my face to his, forcing our eyes to meet, saying…

‘Mama, can we talk about Sawyer now? When you are done with Cooper can we talk about me now?’

I remember time stopping. Sound buzzing in my ears.

Huge chocolate brown eyes.

Blonde spiked hair.

One dimple.

The most adorable boy.

‘When do the people come to see me mama? When is it Sawyer’s turn?’

All of these years later I still fit the pit of failure in my stomach. For so many years I worried I failed him. The guilt, always on mind.

Thankfully, less and less as time went on.

And then reality…‘I love you mom! I’m going to shoot hoops!’

And he was gone. Out the door.

My happy boy. My happy, kind, brave, boy.

And Cooper dancing by. The same song blaring from his iPad. As if no time has passed at all. Waving to his brother through the window, happy to watch him play.

A picture of our family. That is what Sawyer was drawing all those years ago. We were holding hands. We were happy.

He was happy.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Hot Topics

Related Articles