How do we get through to him? He’s disinterested. We can’t force him to be engaged. He just doesn’t care and if he doesn’t care, we can’t make him.

It’s almost as if Jett had heard our conversation. But he couldn’t have, could he?

He was in his room, door closed, IPad on, attention diverted. Jett focuses HARD on what has his eye. It’s nearly impossible to find a way in once he’s captivated by the world of his mind.

We’ve been struggling so hard this year. Homework is difficult (unbearable for an ADD parent like myself). Jett seems to be on a sort of ‘disconnect’ with peers, teachers and caregivers alike. Each new school season has it’s share of growing pains but this year the pain seems to be lingering, much longer than usual.

I’ll admit, I’ve been venting more often lately. I’m more exhausted than usual. I feel more and more helpless, the older Jett gets. I want to follow his lesson plan, Individual Education Plan and behavioral plan to the best of my ability, but the more years pass, the less I realize I know. I was in tears last night trying to explain my frustration to my mother in law. On a fight or flight scale I was looking to book a ticket to the Bermuda Triangle…

Deep in my own world, I felt someone near.

“Hey Mom.” Jett whispered in my ear, startling me as I sat editing at my computer.

“Hey baby.” I smiled – thrilled. That just doesn’t happen every day.

“Wanna come hang out with me before bed?” he asked warmly, looking me directly in the eye.

“Really??? I mean heck yes.” I replied hopping up from my desk and following him eagerly into his room.

It was almost 10:00 but I didn’t care. He wanted to talk to me – ME!

I love my son more than I can possibly explain but we don’t really ‘talk’ all that much. We create things together, mostly in silence. His younger brother Dane and I can wax on for hours about a big ole pile of everything and nothing, but Jett has always been one to reserve conversation for the inside of his mind.

Autism is a beautifully magical and unexplainable thing. What Jett lacks in communication skills he more than makes up for with imagination, intellect and passion, passion for what HE is passionate about.

“What do you want to talk about?” I asked.

“Whatever you want Mom.” He was staring me right in the eye. No Ipad, no TV, no sketchpad in hand… I was mesmerized.


We talked about everything: infertility (seriously), was he adopted, would he always be older than Dane? I got the 411 on his friends, his Halloween costume wishes, where he wants to travel some day… We established the difference between ‘like’ and ‘LIKE like’. I was absolutely shocked, stunned and amazed.

And then, the kicker.

I said, “We’ve covered a lot tonight Jett. It’s getting late. Is there anything you really want to talk about?”

He cocked his head a bit, touched my arm gently and replied, “How’s the studio coming Mom?”

He was listening. He was truly listening. He knew I was torn about selling my photography studio. He knew that it was something important to ME. Some moments effortlessly take your breath away, and this was one of them. It reminded me of the day Jett called me ‘Ma’ for the very first time. He was almost three…

Right then I knew I wouldn’t have to wait very long for the next ‘moment’.

Author Julie Ufema

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Alan Chack says:

    I like reading whatever you post. A conversation in which I am listening to you and you don’t have to be concerned with my body language. It isn’t easy to be so open and I greatly respect you for sharing as you do. Jett and Dane are lucky to have chosen you and Jason as their parents.

  • kim says:

    Julie, thank you for this piece. My Son’s are no longer little boys. Moments like that are gone. Teenagers rarely engage in their parents. You were blessed with that moment with Jett, hold onto it. Beautifully written.

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