This past Sunday, Dominic came up to me while I was sitting in the family room and said for the first time, "mommy, I love you!" followed by a hug. It took everything in me not to start crying like a baby :) Sure, he's been giving me tons of kisses lately, but him telling me he loved me, spontaneously, without me prompting him was a MAJOR milestone. Some parents of children with autism wait a lifetime to hear those words, some never hear those words. I feel blessed I only had to wait eight years :) I remember a friend of mine telling me that she had to "teach" her autistic daughter to hug. Wow, Dominic for a long time has been a pretty affectionate type of guy. I consider myself lucky that he does like to hug and kiss. I think my heart would break in half if he didn't want me to hug or kiss him. Dominic is still small enough to sit on my lap and cuddle. I know that won't last forever, and believe me, I am savoring every moment of those "cuddle" moments (just like I did when Lauren was little). When I first met my stepson, he would snuggle on my lap - he's way too big to do that now - he'll be 29 in January!! We only see my stepson once or twice a year, he's a busy guy with his own career. When he does come to visit, the first thing he gets from me is a hug and the last thing I give him when he leaves is a hug. We say, "I love you" and dispense hugs a lot in our house. Earlier this week, I ran into a friend of mine that I hadn't seen in a while and we greeted each other with a hug :) Most people shake hands, I hug! If I know you, you're getting a hug! Very few if any people have ever backed away from me. The power of physical touch is amazing. When my mother-in-law spent two weeks in the hospital and then was moved to hospice, I would hold her hand. She was very ill and couldn't squeeze my hand back, but she knew I was there. She has only been gone less than two years, but I miss those hugs with her. Tell those special people in your life how much you love them and give them a hug. It's a win-win!!