I'm hesitant to bring this up. I'm afraid that the breakthrough I think I'm seeing is an ephemeral anomaly that will be gone in my next heartbeat. And that, I think, could break my heart.
My daughter is not a demonstrative person. She jokes, she tantrums, she makes awesome connections in that remarkable brain of hers, but she doesn't hug, kiss, say, "I love you," or snuggle. I've grown kind of used to living that way; my husband and son are so "Asperger's" -- one officially so, the other partially admittedly so -- in all aspects of their lives. They don't think to reach out with a touch or a sweet word. (Remember that it was my son who told me, 'round about the age of 5, that "he would love me in 2009." It was then 2002. *Sigh*)
I had such hopes that the little girl who was my snuggly helper as a toddler and preschooler would be the one who broke that pattern for me. But somewhere around the age of 4, things changed. I don't know what happened. In some ways, it doesn't really matter. She was tested twice and found not to be on the spectrum, but I don't know why she stopped being "my girl" and pulled away from the loving touches a mother gives her child. I don't know why she stopped saying she loved me. I know only that for years, I've stood alone in a houseful of people, the only one to initiate loving phrases and touches.
Last week, out of the blue, my daughter oh-so-quietly said, "I love you" and gave me an awkward squeeze. My heart. This she's repeated a few times since then, letting me play with her fingers or stroke her hair. Today she let me hold her hand in the car. My heart. I never thought I'd see that girl again, and these glimpses have been so sweet.
I'm so afraid to hope. I'm so afraid not to hope.