As our oldest son hit each milestone, he was very very late, yet still within the “normal” range. It caused a lot of anxiety because it was usually within a week of the end of that range and far from what our peers’ children were experiencing. After about 18 months though, he wasn’t saying any words consistently or spontaneously. He talked all the time, but none of it was understandable. We asked the doctor and they said to wait until the 24 month appointment. Well, by the time we got to that appointment, nothing had changed. Then came speech therapy, specialist appointments, etc. All of it very expensive, none of it covered, and all of it very confusing and stressful. People used phrases like “normally developing children” to describe kids who were not like him and it became clear that, to all professionals, this was the goal. We don’t want to call them “normal” because then we are calling my sweet boy, “not normal.”
People offered all sorts of stories about kids who just started talking at age 4, or how it won’t make a difference later anyway, or suggested that I do more therapy, less therapy, “have him checked.” Even family seemed to treat him differently, and suggested various diagnosis, or would avoid him altogether. I’m not going to lie, it felt like we had no one who understood or tried to understand , and it also felt like it all fell on me. It’s also worth noting that we had our second babe who happened to be colicky at this time… talk about refiner’s fire!
During that year and a half between when he was one and when he was 2 ½, my son and I went through various phases in our relationship. I would get so frustrated with him for acting naughty at an appointment that could determine so much based on his behavior, or mad at him for “not trying.” He would get mad at me. He would scream at me… and I would cry. I cried and cried and cried. I would pray too. I believe in miracles and I prayed for one so fervently, and with so much passion; so many times, always stating that if it was God’s will, please help him talk. Please. I made promises, and I asked my husband over and over to give him priesthood blessings, and to give them to me too.
My son always received the same promises that he would be alright, and be married someday, and be happy, intelligent and able to serve the Lord in many capacities. Yet time and money was slipping through our hands and still no words. Finally, I started feeling angry as I prayed. I cried even more. One day though, it hit me. If God wanted him to talk, he would talk. I knew that, and all of a sudden, it was okay. I came to a realization that it didn’t matter if he was always behind in his classes, or a straight B student, and it didn’t matter if he made a million dollars or far less. All of a sudden I realized that all that matters is that he becomes who Heavenly Father wants him to become.
Not only this, but it doesn’t matter if I become all that I had planned or hoped to be. It matters that I am who God wants me to be, and the same with my husband. Too often we define success in our lives by standards which we developed at some point, instead of seeing that we can be happy if we are something totally different than that, as long as it’s what God wants us to be. My son is now nearing 4 and doing very well. He is thriving and so happy, and my relationship with him is solid. We are a team, and we are on God’s team. I’m so grateful that we have gone through this with him, as my first child, because now I can see all of my children through the same lens. I’m grateful for the miracles and successes he has had in his life, (which have been MANY) but I am not worried anymore about whether or not there will be more. He is perfect, and always has been… it was me who had issues. Here is a picture of he and I and my very pregnant belly.