I don’t know why exactly, but yesterday ganged up on me. It just smelled of a bad day. I was less productive than I intended, got some news that didn’t sit well, stupidly cut my nose with scissors, argued with my husband and my back ached from an overly enthusiastic tabata exercise move. I was having one of those “everything is dirty and broken” days, as coined by my friend, Kirsten.

By contrast, my 9YO son, Devlin, was having a stellar day. He took the first test of his elementary school career completely by himself without adult support with 80% accuracy. Dev has a full-time aide at school, so taking a test by himself is a huge accomplishment. Later that afternoon, he sang holiday songs and stood with his school chorus for over an hour on the front row. Singing with his classmates in a large auditorium with hundreds of people packed in has sent him literally running away to escape in the past.

Regardless, the weather was gloomy and I remained in a funk. Devlin came to me after dinner as I rested on my bed. His hair was wet, freshly washed from a bath, wearing his favorite skull and crossbones pajamas. He crawled in next to me and hugged me tight as he grinned ear-to-ear. Then he saw tears in my eyes. Empathy doesn’t come naturally to Devlin. He has had to learn to read other’s emotions through intensive ABA therapy. He wiped my tears and asked me if I was sad. I told him yes, that sometimes mommies get sad, but I would be okay. Then he proposed to sing a song to me to make me feel better. Dev will hum songs to himself, but he has never sung a song to me as he gets too self-conscious.

He didn’t stop my tears as he sang Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but he made me remember how powerful love is.