So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

This time last year we mainly heard grunts from our 2-year-old son as his primary means of communication.

He would grunt for food, sleep, comfort, and play. My husband and I had become so accustomed to the grunting sounds that we quickly developed our own language of sorts. One grunt: “He must want Goldfish.” Two grunts: “He is tired.” A high-pitched grunt: “He is upset.”

It wasn’t until our pediatrician raised his eyebrows at my explanation of our newly formed translation system that I started to realize the depth of the situation.

“What does he call you?” my pediatrician asked.

With a blank stare and a very blank space in my head, I replied, “Nothing.”

I’m not sure if verbalizing that one word “nothing” hurt me the most or the fact that my precious, kind, tender-hearted little boy was not equipped at that moment to meet the statistics chart that defines “normal”.

In fact, we were far from that.

Thoughts plagued my mind: What did I do wrong? How can I help him? Will this ever get better?

We qualified for therapy, which meant twice a month for an entire year I watched a speech therapist visit our home.

She would come with goals in mind and work alongside me to find words and then phrases. The single words were the hardest: dad, cat, dog, etc. These were not easy. In between the therapy days, I spent many mornings praying that the Lord would grant him “words to say” and me the ability to help him.

We started small. One day we spent an entire hour working on the word “dog”.

It is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when a three letter word starts to feel impossible.

If he struggles with a three letter word, how will he ever go to college?

Parenting can often be a world of extremes. We tend to think a tantrum means delinquency, a missed meal means starvation, and an unmet milestone means failure.

So often we can lose sight of the fact that we are raising children to turn into adults that are all still a work in progress.

The old adage that comparison is the “thief of joy” is every part correct. So often, I let my own insecurities and inward battles take root within my mind.

I have failed because he cannot say the word “dog”.
Did I eat too much pizza while I was pregnant with him?
This has to come from his dad’s side of the family.

I would hone in on children much younger than mine who seemed to have recited Shakespeare overnight.

A newly turned 3-year-old once asked me how my day was going. My inward response: “Great, you cute little overachiever.”

My outward response, “Just fine, thank you.”

Meanwhile, I would sit down hoping the kids staring at my son pounding his chest like a monkey would understand that he didn’t actually believe he was a caged animal, and that three-part grunt was, in fact, a plea for someone to play with him.

I knew the process would not be instant, but I did not know it would be isolating.

I repeatedly found inward encouragement by verses in the Bible that directly address our speech:

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only what is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” -Ephesians 4:29

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”- Psalm 19:14

“My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding,” -Psalm 49:3

God had this. He created my son, He formed him, and He cared. He also wanted him to speak and in time, he would.

There were small steps each day where the grunts seemed to fade and sounds and words would be uttered. Each time I heard something come from his mouth, I praised him and delighted in my own heart that it wasn’t a grunt, but an actual word.

Cheese, yes, pizza (maybe I did eat too much during pregnancy), bird, turtle, etc. These were all coming from his mouth each day. We would be driving in the car and all of a sudden I would hear a faint sound in the backseat: “Look!” or “Dog.”
With new milestones, there was a new word, reassurance that maybe, just maybe, everything would be OK.

It wasn’t until a few months later that we were in a store with my mom that I heard the three-letter word echoing in the quiet crevices of the building.

“Mom!”
“Mom!”
“Moooooom!”

I looked up to see my brown-eyed boy excitedly wanting to show me something he had found, but clearly using his voice to catch my attention. I’m pretty sure the clouds parted in that very moment and angels everywhere began the Hallelujah Chorus as I knelt down to bear-hug my child for the sweet and tender way he called my name.

Words and phrases now come easily to him. We hear him talk 24/7 and I’m pretty sure his inside voice is actually his outside voice with three megaphones attached, but with each sound that comes from his mouth I give thanks.

Thanks for the therapy that came during a time we needed it the most. Thanks for the countless puzzles, sensory bins, and outdoor play we concocted to prompt him to speak. Thanks for the other moms not judging me when I passed out snacks to my son based on a weird grunting system.

And, thanks to the Lord for listening to a mother’s heart and giving my son the three-letter word I longed to hear for so long.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog.

You may also like:

At Long Last, I Really am “Mom”

Let Me Love You a Little More, Before You’re Not Little Anymore – 5 Ways to Cherish Your Child Right Now

The Littleness is Leaving Our Home

Emily Reed

Emily Reed is a stay-at-home mom to two small children. After previously working in the newspaper industry, she now freelances for several publications.

Don’t Let Anyone Rush You, Mama

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother with two kids at home relaxing

From the moment our children are born, other people make it challenging to stay in the present moment—they start asking questions that look forward instead of at the now we are in. Can you believe how big she’s getting, where did your newborn go? Oh my goodness, he’ll be walking any day now! Are you thinking about preschool? What will you do when they’re both in school? What will you do when your baby goes to college? While these questions may come with good intentions, they’re not helpful at all. We moms need to be allowed to be fully in...

Keep Reading

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Kids Crave Your Time, Not Fancy Things

In: Kids, Motherhood
Dad and daughter with basketball smiling

I have four kids, and like most parents, I’m doing my best to give them a happy childhood, but we’re not really an activity family. Don’t get me wrong, we love a good day trip to the local water park or a night out at the movies, but with several different ages and a tight budget, activities or outings are rare for us. Sometimes I end up feeling bad about it, like our kids are missing out, but then I take a deep breath and realize that some of the best moments come from the simplest of things. Lucky for...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergarten Graduate—Wherever Life Takes You, I’ll Always Be Your Safe Place To Land

In: Kids, Motherhood

I cried on your first day of kindergarten. Did you know that? I held it together through the getting ready and the goodbyes—but once I had waved one last time and was pulling out of the parking lot, the lump in my throat poured out as hot tears down my cheeks.  How could you be starting kindergarten? You, my precious firstborn baby. We had some growing pains as we adjusted to a new routine. The school days were so long. I spent my days missing you and you spent yours missing me. We were apart from each other more than...

Keep Reading

The Secret to Slowing Down Time Is to Notice the Moments You’re Living In

In: Kids, Motherhood

Dear current self, You’ve heard a lot of mothers admonish you to slow down and enjoy every moment with your children. They’ve warned you with phrases like “before you know it,”  “in the blink of an eye,” and other cliché’s that haven’t really hit you, but they will. Soon, they will. I am writing you now because I’ve seen you trying to wrap your mind around the how-to—as if holding time in your hand is a skill anyone has successfully mastered. I’ll save you the suspense. It can’t be done. It is inevitable. Your kids are going to grow up....

Keep Reading

You Don’t Have to Celebrate a Holiday Just Because It’s On the Calendar

In: Kids, Living

I switched on the computer, adjusted my chair, then quickly swiveled back around again toward my husband, “Are you sure? You don’t mind?” “Me?” he made a swift waving motion as if swatting a fly. “Psht. Yeah, I’m fine with it. You?” He lifted his head and locked our eyes a little more securely, “Are you sure?” “Yes,” I said firmly, without hesitation. “OK, good,” my man turned back to his phone, “Love you.” “Good,” I confirmed. A rush of relief swept through me as muscles I didn’t even know were tense suddenly relaxed. A bubbling surge of energy had...

Keep Reading

I’m Raising Wild Boys

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy and toddler smiling at each other, color photo

Yesterday my boys (two and eight) were playing outside in our cul-de-sac—running, yelling, tackling each other . . . all the normal stuff. One of the neighbor moms was out as well, looking on as her son joined the fray.  “I need to send him over to your house for a week or two,” she joked, “so he can get more in touch with his boyness.”  “No, you don’t want to do that. My boys are wild things,” I quickly replied. And I wasn’t joking. My sons are rough, tough, primal beings.  Moments before this conversation, my oldest was ramming...

Keep Reading

A Big Move Brings Big Emotions For Little Kids—Here’s How to Help Them Cope

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood

It doesn’t matter how outgoing or funny or charismatic your kids might be, the possibility of uprooting their little lives and relocating to a new city is terrifying for any parent. Add a global pandemic into the mix, and it’s an idea that feels almost insurmountable.  But when my husband got a job offer we couldn’t refuse, we packed up the car and drove our two kids (eight and four) west from Pennsylvania to the great state of Arizona. The decision weighed heavily on me, and I wasn’t prepared for the avalanche of mom guilt that followed. But as I’ve...

Keep Reading

My Kids May Never Be Professional Athletes, But They’ll Be Strong, Confident Adults Because of Youth Sports

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tween boy playing hockey, color photo

I have pivoted 180 degrees over the last few years on one major bone of contention in our household of four, which includes two sporty kids who love ice hockey and baseball: the rationale behind our, in my opinion, excessive expenditure of resources on our sons’ youth sports careers, and whether this makes any sense.  Neither of them is NHL or MLB bound. Or at least the chances, statistically, are extremely minuscule. And yet, we have directed an inordinate amount of our life savings as well as our precious time to not only club sports, but also private lessons, to...

Keep Reading

Food Allergies Won’t Stop Her—How My Daughter Is Teaching Me to Be Brave

In: Kids, Motherhood

Dear daughter, I know sometimes you wonder if you’ll ever do normal things without me hovering over you. Double and triple-checking your snack labels and drilling you about whether your allergy meds are packed and ready. It’s a lot for you to carry, physically and emotionally. But you’re so strong, sweet girl. Flexible, too. You can do this because you were built for it. And someday, someday, you’ll see it: that this story is yours because you carry it with grace. You don’t complain much, and when you do, you follow it up with a wise comment, saying this sort...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections