Dear son,

As we approach your third birthday, I can’t help but reflect back on these past years.

It’s just been you and me from the start.

And although some days feel like an eternity, I still catch myself wondering where has the time gone?

God made me the luckiest woman alive when he chose me to be your mom.

RELATED: God Trusted You to be Their Mother

Thank you for your tender kisses and for your ferocious hugs.

For showing me in return all the heart and soul I have poured into you, and for your gentle I love yous to remind me of why I will never stop.

Thank you for making me a better mom every day. 

For teaching me more patience than I ever knew I was capable of and for still loving me unconditionally in the times I don’t.

Thank you for your strength and perseverance.

For reminding me every day of the miracle of a spoken word and for giving me every reason to believe in hope for the future.

Thank you for being uniquely you.

For allowing me to step into your world, to see all the wonder, magic, and beauty within, and for your forgiveness in the times I can’t always.

Thank you for the lives you are touching and the mindsets you are changing.

For these people will now move forward in their lives with a better understanding of autism and, hopefully, will walk through society with more compassion because of you.

You and this world of wonder I call autism have taught me amazing things about life this past year that I don’t think I would’ve experienced if not for you both.

You’ve both taught me how to turn my . . . 

Grief into gratitude. 

Pain into perseverance.

Sorrows into sacrifices.

RELATED: He’s Not Always Easy, But He’s Easy to Love

It’s surreal to say a little boy so curious and charming as you and a world I knew nothing about could teach me the most important things about this life.

I’d choose you in every lifetime, Kanen.

The goofiest little goober, I love you more than you’ll ever understand, Pa.

Your  mom,

Samira Soto

I’m Samira, I’m a 25-year-old single mom to my 2.5-year-old son Kanen Arley. I am born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA and love more than anything raising him in my small beach town surrounded by the best friends and family. Kanen was diagnosed with severe non-verbal autism in September of 2020, which inspired me to start sharing our journey through My Charming Arley on Facebook and Samirasstella on Instagram. He is by far the most humorous, charismatic, and charming little boy. I’m truly the luckiest woman to be his mama.