Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dear Sam

Dear Sam,

I want you to know that how you are labeled or diagnosed means nothing to me. You are NOT APRAXIC. You HAVE apraxia. There's a difference. I won't allow myself to shrink you down into just one word, one set of symptoms, or one lack of something essential.

You don't talk. Not in sentences. You speak in one word bursts.

But you are a magnificent communicator. With one look, one sign, or one gesture, I know what you want. You have created your own elaborate language with me, your mama, and it makes me feel so special. I am as close to you as any human being can be, because without even knowing it, I have learned your language. One that needs no words.

I struggle with this, Sam. You were made this way. And I believe you are perfect. Is it up to me to try to change you? To manipulate the way you speak to the world? To force you, in essence, to fit yourself into the mold of everyone else who can talk?

Or do I let you be who you are, and accept the world you can give me? This world of yours with it's sounds and gestures and nods and smiles. This IS your language. This IS your speech. Do I immerse myself in your world, because it is yours and it is easier for me to find my way in yours...or do I pull you over to mine?

I just don't know.

I want to do what is best for YOU. I want you to live in this world with ease and comfort. And, truly, the only way you can do that is by having words. I don't want you to be lonely. I don't want to look at you, and see you watching children playing, and singing...and feel that you are lacking.

Because you aren't, my sweet baby boy. You aren't lacking anything. Your brain just can't tell your mouth how to move very well. And I am going to do everything possible to make sure you never feel different. Special and set apart, yes. Different- no.

I can't say that I know what to do, or how to fix this, or how to make you better. I can't say that I am not heartbroken for our family, because we all feel your silence. Deeply.

But you remain a sweet and kind boy. With mischief in his heart and a killer smile. You dance. You run. You play and you laugh.

And you love with your whole heart, grabbing our faces and kissing us when we least expect it. You walk up to strangers and shake their hands, because you can't say "Hi.". You make people smile with your grin.

You bring about in me the intense need to protect, to teach, and to nurture. You make me work, hard, at being a good and patient mom.

I understand you so much better and so much more deeply for your lack of words, sweet boy. You have taught me that love is more than words. That care is more than physical. And that in me lies a mother who will stand between her child and the world-forever if need be.

I will never be moved from this place for you. I will be your mother, your teacher, your therapist, your buddy, and your words if need be. You will never be lonely in your silence while I live and walk.

You are loved even MORE because of this. Treasured even MORE because of this. And cherished to the end of my days because I get to be your mother.

I love you, more than all the Thomas trains and cars in the world.