This is going to be difficult for me to say. So I will try the best way I can, and I ask for grace when you read this please.
Please understand that what I am about to say comes from a hurt I carry with me everyday, and that some days it becomes so heavy that I lose my breath trying to accept it.
You see, my son is six. And for some reason that no one can explain to me, this precious little boy never developed the gift of speech — something so many of us were given without effort. And because my son struggles with communication, his world is small and difficult. It is judgmental and sad, and at times, unbearable.
But tonight, a soft and subtle “pink” left my son’s cherub lips. He was looking up at the solstice sky which to him I know comes in hues I cannot see, or begin to process the way his mighty and neurodiverse brain does.
“Yes, Max,” I replied. “Beautiful pink sky.”
My son spoke, and I collected his word and kept it in my golden box of treasures. I sat in awe, not sure what else to say. In that moment, I knew what it took for my son to see and say that, so we sat and watched as the remaining sun quietly went to sleep.
And once again, there was silence.
So, as one parent to another, may I humbly ask that when your children want to speak to you, please let them.
Because for every word that your children release from their precious mouths, I would give anything to hear from mine.
Because for every time you wished your children would be quiet, there’s a mother that cries in agony to hear hers.
Because for every moment you spend conversing with your children, there’s a mother that hurts quietly that her child cannot say her name.
Because for every time your child bothers you for something at the store and explains to you why they need just one more to add to their collection, there’s a mother who wishes her child would ask for anything.
Because for every time your child tells you about wanting to see their friend, there’s a mother who wishes her child understood how to communicate with his peers.
Because for every time you become upset that your child wants to argue with you, there’s a mother who wishes her child could tell her why her child is hurting.
Parents, I know how difficult this time has been with your children at home. There has been nowhere for them to go and you’ve had to bear the long days and nights of trying to find a new normal. Likewise, your children have also tried their best to adapt and understand the world that changed on them without warning, and have had to try to understand why so many of their life parts were taken away.
So let them speak.
Let them tell you about the latest episode of Peppa Pig, one more time.
Let them tell you about that time at the lake they climbed the tree with grandpa, one more time.
Let them tell you about the chalk illustration that’s supposed to be you but looks more like a six foot chicken, one more time.
Let them tell you about why they have magical powers and can walk on pavement without shoes, one more time.
Let them tell you about why they like that shirt more, why they can’t eat another bite of their plate, why the water is too hot or too cold, or why it’s not time to go to bed just yet … ONE. MORE. TIME.
Because these are all the things I wish I could share with my child. Golden moments like these, couldn’t come quick enough for me.
For one day, these moments will be over. I promise you the house will become quiet because they will grow up to be “too cool” to speak to you. I know this because I teach high school. And trust me, it takes moving mountains to get them to speak again so freely, without the fear of judgment or ridicule. They will turn to their friends and their phones before they ask you for something. It’s just what happens. They grow, and they change.
So let them speak.
I’m still praying and keeping hope alive that mine will someday.