This may be typical 3-year-old stuff alongside typical autism stuff but J-bear understanding emotions is kind of a trick. It’s not that he does not feel emotions, for he feels the entire gamut and then some I believe. It’s not that he is not empathetic either, for his sense of empathy has been known to blow many of us around him away. It’s the actually labelling and sorting of them that just is not there. Not yet.

… But for one.

A couple of weeks ago J started announcing loudly and cheerfully “HAPPY!” in his bright little voice, practically doing a dance whenever he said it. He’d sit in the back of the car sing-songing the word. So much joy came out of this little boy every time he said the word that it always made me smile at the bare minimum.

Then it dawned on me.

This was a thing. He was telling me something. At whatever given moment he was cheerfully announcing the word, every bit of evidence spoke to him actually being the emotion he declared. Overwhelmingly so.

Then it happened. Saturday, I was feeling miserable and J hopped up onto the couch beside me. My good side, as good as a side could be at that point. We started goofing around with my phone and the front facing camera but never can I generally get him to smile into it. Then as we were snapping photos I said “happy!”…. and this happened:


excuse my huge blue shoulder

He was intentionally joyful! He repeated it as brightly as possible and I got this image.

For a little boy who barely communicates with the world he just plain blows me away sometimes. He’s making things known and that just delights and amazes me. I love nothing more than watching this little boy learn and grow.