Seated in our car, buckled up with two toddlers in tow - snuggled in their car seats; heading to wherever we were going... I can remember the conversations my hubby and I would have about the kids.
We'd talk about their shot schedules, preschool options... Potty training... We'd talk about their personalities and how they were growing. She spoke her first word before her brother. She actually talked and babbled a lot. It was in these car conversations, that - at some point - I'd roll my head to the left of me, where I could look at my husband while he was driving and in the concerned voice that only other concerned mothers and husbands would recognize, I would say, "Do you think it's okay that he hasn't really talked?" "Do you think he will catch up?" "Should we be worried?" and in between those rapid fire questions, my husband would ease my fears, he would tell me our son is alright... Then we'd talk about how great the day would be when we would finally hear his voice, hear the words he'd say... The things he'd talk about.
There were many of those conversations... It took a long time for him to speak. There wasn't anything wrong, we just impatiently waited.
In the waiting we talked about how his voice would sound, we talked about what he'd find interesting, we talked about conversations we couldn't wait to have - unlocking the thoughts that were in that brain of his.
And then he spoke... I think his first word was racecar... Her's was her brothers name. We do remember the way he would say certain words... Tamo for tomato, hostible for hospital... And more recently tuxaceedo for tuxedo.
Precious moments I stored up in my heart for my son. Moments we can look back on and smile.
I say all of this because... Because our son has become one of "those" children that talks... All.the.time! He talks to everyone, he talks at everyone, he talks over others. He has lots to say... He's surpassed the "made up for his delayed talking" and then some.
There are some days... Quite a lot of days where I look at other moms and say silently, so he won't hear, "I am so sorry." There are days I commiserate with my best friend and wonder if he will ever learn to speak at the appropriate time. There are moments, yes, I can be honest... That ducktape around my ears sounds like a perfectly reasonable option for the incessant talking... Notice I said my ears there and not his mouth?
I have begun to notice, though, that my actions when it comes to his talking have had an effect on people.
There are those who are my best, closest and dearest friends and family who laugh with me and smile. Sometimes they rub his head and lovingly look at him. There are others among that group who, maybe - just maybe can see a bit of themselves in my son and take him for a walk... And they walk and talk and my son puffs up with pride. To that group of people, I say from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
In those moments this mom smiles in her heart and stores up love for those people.
However, there is another category of people altogether... People who have taken my lament and have decided they now have a place to speak about my son and it's not done in a kind way. They run from him, they make fun of him and they allow others to tell him to shut it.
Those people make this mommy angry... Those people weren't along for the car rides of concern, those people didn't wait on him to speak. Those people don't necessarily value the souls of little children...
And I have realized... It's my fault. I set the tone for my family... For my kids... I set the tone for my son. I am his mom. I am protector of all things regarding him when I am around. I know how sensitive he is, I know how concerned he is about the way others view him and I am not doing him any good when I, by my own words and body language allow others to believe they have the right to offer comments and attitudes towards him.
It was when, I began to hear myself apologize repeatedly for him... And when, he, with crocodile tears tugged on my sweater and said someone had told him to shut up. We don't speak to our kids that way, we don't say shut up. I know he was asked nicely a few times to stop talking, until the other child had enough and shut up bubbled over in frustration.
I suppose it could be argued that we need to teach him when it's appropriate to speak, when it's not. We need to teach him that he needs to think before he speaks and that adults have far more important things to say... And we do teach and mold... And we do try and explain the correct time to speak, trying to teach him to read social cues. Talking about the flow of conversation... That is our job to do... But...
But I am wrong... Adults don't always have the most important things to say. He is a pretty amazing little man. He is also 7... 7 and we need to be kind and caring when we correct. Careful with a trusting heart not to squish and forever alter the way his character forms.
I was watching him the other day. We were late to school. He needed a pink (tardy) slip. It had been a cold and rainy week... I watched them run from the car to the office. I watched her quick precise steps, so sure and confident... Heading to the office. I watched him shuffle behind her. Giggling at whatever he was saying to her, ahead of him. I watched as his backpack slipped off his shoulder and the zipper on the top of the backpack opened a bit. In the office they went, out they popped with their slips. Running to class, again he's shuffling straight to a puddle. He runs in the wet grass, she walks the paved path. He runs to catch up, I see him stop, noticing something he had shuffled past, he runs in a circle and skips in a puddle till he disappears in the classroom.
I smile... His path is different than hers. I smile because my son beats to the beat of his own drum. He looks at life and the things of this earth, he sees the joy in the little and the big things an he lets those moments guide him.
I admire him. I wish I had the courage to speak out for what is right, I which I could be brave when I need the boldness to speak about Christ. I wish I could take more time to shuffle in the rain and jump in puddles. I wish I had the ability to talk to anyone at anytime like he does. I wish I could look at him with God's glasses all of the time and value with love every single thing he does, even the teachable moments.
I can say... It's no longer okay for his mom to apologize for his talking. It's no longer for his mom to squish his joy or wish he'd be a little different. I love him for exactly who he is and how he does it.
Society can suggest all they want... But from now on... This mom, who was given by God this boy (and) girl to raise will not offer the apologies anymore, this mom will not allow her children to be molded into the box that others think is appropriate or right. I choose to see them with the eyes of God... Who loves their hearts, who laughs at their talking and Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder therm, for the kingdoms of heaven belongs to such as these.