Out Of The Mouths Of Babes
One of the most magical aspects of having children is watching their consciousness grow and develop. When my oldest son was three, he had a major speech delay. For months, we had only heard one word come out of him: “Eh.”
“Neeko, do you want some milk?”
“Eh!” He would reply.
At the time I had him in preschool. When summer rolled around, the lead teacher emphasized to me how important it was for him to attend summer school so they could continue to work with him. And while I appreciated all that they were doing, I also felt like they were resolving to accept his disability as permanent. They were starting him in on learning sign language and discussing retrofitting him with a machine that would talk for him.
While I strongly agreed with us all making a concerted effort to enable him to communicate, I also knew in my mother’s heart that if I could work with him intensely over the summer, I could teach him to talk. So I went against their recommendations and kept him home for the summer.
I talked a blue streak to that kid for three months. And finally one day while I was rocking him, he looked up into my eyes and said, “I love you Mommy.” It was like something deep within his brain just unlocked, and he went on to catch up with his language skills over the next year.
My youngest son, Cruze, had no learning delays. I remember right before his sixth birthday, I asked him what he wanted for his celebration that year.
“Well, a-c-t-u-a-l-l-y,” he carefully pronounced the new word he had just learned, “I want a driver’s license and a skateboard!” But of course!
Yet it was something my youngest son said to me one day when he was only four that continues to amaze and mystify me eight years later, and I imagine always will.
I was seated at my dressing table putting on my makeup and Cruze was playing with his toy cars on the floor next to me.
“Mommy?” He said, looking up at me with his sparkling, deep blue eyes.
“Yes, Honey?” I responded.
“Thank you for my life.” He stated.
“What did you just say?” I asked him, incredulous.
“Thank you for my life!” He replied brightly, then turned his attention back to his toys.
I just sat there in disbelief. Did he really just say that to me? Could he possibly understand the depth and meaning of such words?
I’ve often thought about how a four-year-old could have possibly come up with this, and have come to the conclusion that it had to be just a fluke. How could a four-year-old understand that I, as his mother, had given him life? How could he, a-c-t-u-a-l-l-y, have an understanding of what such a statement meant?
It’s hard to say how much of a conscious understanding my young son had of the words he spoke to me that morning, or why he would formulate such a concept and say it. Each child develops their conscious understanding of how the world works and the meaning behind it all at a different pace.
All I know is that it was one of the most profound, touching moments I have ever shared with my son.
You are welcome, my love. A-c-t-u-a-l-l-y, the pleasure has truly been, and continues to be, all mine.
© 2018 Elisa Fortise Christensen
Elisa Christensen is a published poet, author and professional content writer who lives in the California mountains above the clouds. She is the mother of two boys, ages 11 and 12, the lucky daughter of an adored 86-year-old mother, and the mom to a Boxer and Yellow Lab.
Her content writing can be found at www.wordfortitude.com. Her writing on parenting can be found at www.parentingfortitude.com, a website she started for parents in less than ideal situations, such as custody battles or parental alienation.
© 2018 Elisa Fortise Christensen