Friday, March 13, 2009

Beyond Words

Yesterday, I picked Tucker up from speech therapy, and his teacher gave me her routine 30-second update on his progress during that hour. Usually she tells me how well he obeyed, what a helper he was, and what sounds they practiced. But yesterday's report... I don't think I will ever forget.

Beaming, she said, "Tricia, he is doing so well! In fact, I think he has lost his speech delay. He only needs help with articulation now, but he has all the words he needs."

My son's speech delay is gone.

My son's speech delay is gone.

I have rejoiced over this, again and again. I cannot tell you.

I have thought of the many months when I wondered if I would ever hear his voice.

I thought of the days when others asked how old he was, when he couldn't answer their questions.

I thought of the time when we visited a new church and I needed to alert them to his special needs. At their request, I wrote 'Speech Delay' underneath his name on his nametag. And I was startled to see that I had written his needs as largely as his name, as if they are equally who he is. And I never, ever wrote it that way again. In fact, I never wrote it on his nametag again. Some things are best as a conversation, not a label.

I thought of how hard we worked, him and me.

I thought of the many, many (countless, really) signs we used, in a language all our own.

I thought of how Robb and I knew without doubt that our son was smart, and how we wished we could help him find the words to show us all what he knew.

I thought of the day he was 'diagnosed,' and how I felt so affirmed that I had been right all along. And so discouraged by the road ahead.

I thought of the verse I claimed for our journey: "Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves" (Prov. 31:8).

I thought of the times when I felt I was missing out, missing the season of preschool conversations that are memories of their own.

I thought of the therapy, the practice, the games, the sounds, the books, and the evaluations.

I thought of how I have loved the people who loved my son enough to learn his language.

I thought of the prayers and tears that only God has known.

I thought of the song a friend wrote just for him... I thought of the words I have sung over him, cried over him, prayed over him...

Speak baby, speak.
Mama's begging please...
Don't worry baby,
Mama's waiting
For the silence to sleep...
Speak baby, speak.
I thought of the day when it started to come together, when he counted to ten at the breakfast table.

I thought of the first time it occurred to me that a little silence in the backseat would be refreshing.

I thought about the time we still have, two full years before kindergarten, when he could overcome this entirely.

He has words. He speaks. He can say anything he needs to.

Guess what, world: My son's speech delay is gone.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go kiss his face. And hear what he has to say.
Thank you, Lord.
You are gracious, good, and faithful.
And my son is fearfully and wonderfully made.


Polly said...

The Lord heard the desire of our hearts! I am crying and rejoicing with you, my sweet daughter, and continue to be eager to hear everything this little boy and his talkative brother have to say to me. God is good - all the time.

Sherie said...

Praise God!