Sunday, May 9, 2010

Crying for Ethan

Friends gave Naomi and me a ride in their car to choir practice yesterday. On the way, I was able to listen to the mom converse with her 4-year-old (just turned 4 a month ago). I marvelled at the normal dialogue, which for me has become something longed for in the unknown future.

Later that night, my recollections of the give-and-take, the detailed words, and the easy understanding, caused tears to run down my cheeks. It made me keenly aware of what I'm missing in my relationship with Ethan.

I've grown accustomed to how Ethan communicates. I consider myself the expert at understanding him (though perhaps rivaled by his siblings!), and I don't think twice about my methods of asking follow-up questions, watching his signs carefully, and using context. We generally get along fine, though there are frustrating moments. Speech therapy is helping, and I notice continual growth.

But every time I hear a child with normal speech development interact with his parent, I catch my breath, realizing again how different Ethan is. And I wonder ... what thoughts of his am I missing? What observations is he making that he can not explain to us? What intelligence is lurking in him that we are not privy to?

God, grant me patience and determination, as I hope and long for the day when I can talk with my son about anything, no matter how abstract. Wipe my tears, as I miss these moments now, and Lord, please, please help him speak.


Jodi Hill said...

Oh Lisa, I so completely understand what you are going through - and the sadness, grief, uncertainty. It is so hard to face those reminders of the differences compared to other kids.
But don't lose hope, the speech therapy and incidental learning that happens in everyday conversation and engagement does make a difference! My Ethan has just turned 5 and the real conversations are beginning...they are still basic compared to his peers but he can reveal his feelings and talk about what he likes. I have no doubt that your gorgeous Ethan will get there... you are in my prayers!

Anonymous said...

It's really frustrating when you're on the inside of it too! Even now, there are times when I just say the wrong thing.

Uncle David