In the midst of all of the Giudice-Gorga drama last night on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, there was one moment that was so sweet and so special, it made the rest of it seem even more ridiculous than usual. It came from Jacqueline Laurita's 3-year-old son, Nicholas.
As you may know, last season, she revealed that he had been diagnosed with autism. He lost his language skills and became more and more distant from them. It's been heartbreaking, and she and her husband Chris have plunged head first into efforts to try and help him.
As they all gathered last night for a big family meal with Rich and Kathy Wakile, Rosie Pierri, and Melissa and Joe Gorga, Chris said he had a surprise for Jacqueline that he was going to unveil.
In the past year and half, Nicholas hadn't told his mom he loved her. While filming a video blog for Parenting magazine, she said she knew it was a bad day when "he stopped saying 'I love you.'" Chris knew how much it would mean for her to hear those words and had been working with his son and a therapist on it, without Jacqueline's knowledge.
He wanted to give her the big surprise when everyone was gathered to witness it. So he brought Nicholas down to the poker table and asked him to say it. When he did, there were tears around the table. While he may not have known exactly what he was saying and did it more to get the lollipop dangled in front of him than anything else, to Jacqueline, it was a sign of hope.
"There was always a part of me that thought he wouldn’t say that again," she said. "It told me he could do so much more. It gave me hope."
And isn't that what all parents of children with autism and other special challenges want? Hope that things can and will get better.
As painful as their son's struggles clearly are for the Lauritas, they're incredibly brave for sharing this personal journey. It provides insight into this disease that affects so many and is a great way to use the Housewives platform that's rarely a conduit for such positivity. If you missed this special moment, here it is. Grab the tissues.
Did you cry watching Jacqueline's son say "I love you"?
Image via Bravo