When Aaron was born and subsequently diagnosed with Down syndrome, several people told me that they believed he would grow up to be a great speaker. That he would have an impact on this world. That he would do great things with his life.
Those are all great things to hear when your child has just been diagnosed with a permanent, developmental disability that will alter the course of your life.
I don't know if those things were said to me to make me feel better or because the people who said them truly had a strong feeling that they were right. Whatever the reason though, they have stuck with me over the past four years.
Specifically the one about being a great speaker. It had to do with his name. Aaron is a biblical name. Aaron was Moses' brother who spoke for him when Moses could not.
However, as the years have passed and the words haven't come, I have wondered if there would ever be any truth to those words that were spoken to me back to then.
We have been getting speech therapy since Aaron was just a few months old and all along his therapists have told me that he is doing great and they are so proud of him and he is improving so much. And while I appreciated the praise and encouragement, I couldn't help but think:
But he still can't talk!
TODAY Aaron said "Thank You" to me. He didn't use sign language and I didn't prompt him. He was eating breakfast and I told him he was doing a good job using his fork and he looked at me and said "thank you", then went back to watching Blues Clues.
It actually took a minute for me to register that he had actually spoken to me. Then I almost burst with delight.
To be clear, these weren't Aaron's first words ever. He has been saying "Daddy", "Bubba", "Ball", "Pop", "Papa" and occasionally "Mama" or "Mom" for a while now. But they are just single words.
"Thank you" is a phrase.
It has distinct sounds that differ from each other.
And he didn't sign it at the same time.
All of these are huge breakthroughs for us that for me, pretty much equal the excitement I felt the first time he walked independently.
I don't know if Aaron will grow up to be a public speaker or change society in any dramatic way. But he has already impacted many people's lives and he is going to make a difference. Some how, some way, to someone. Even if it's just me. He already has.
AND NOW HE CAN TALK!!!