You can do hard things.
You were a quiet baby— barely cried and always had a smile and a giggle for me.
But, you barely babbled and you didn’t speak.
By your second birthday, you were my quiet child.
But you always had a smile and a laugh for me.
We started speech therapy and were told you had Childhood Apraxia of Speech.
I dug into every book, every article, every resource I could find and you dug into your therapy.
Other children went to summer camps or other enrichment activities and you went to therapy twice a week.
You worked so hard. You showed grit and determination and kept working and always had a smile on your face.
And I prayed. I prayed for you to find your voice. I prayed to hear you speak.
Then it happened.
It was like a light switch flipped and it all connected and the words came and I cried.
It was a couple weeks before kindergarten started when your speech therapist discharged you. She said you had caught up to your peers and we didn’t need therapy anymore.
She told me before we left that day that you had defied her expectations. When you first started working with her you were considered severe and she wasn’t sure you would ever speak.
And I cried.
Kindergarten came and went and you started to realize that you spoke differently from your peers.
It was in first grade that your teacher saw the need for more speech therapy. When you weren’t understood you would get frustrated and shrink into yourself. She advocated for you and helped us to get you on an IEP.
You worked for years with the speech therapist at school. I sat through IEPs and ETRs and cheered you on. It became old hat and just another part of our routine.
Today I sat through another ETR.
We went over the test scores. We talked about your strengths. We discussed your progress.
This meeting was different though.
At the end we didn’t set your follow up IEP meeting.
Because it wasn’t necessary.
Your speech and articulation is solid. You can speak and be understood. Your apraxia no longer affects your ability to communicate effectively.
I disconnected from that call and I cried.
I prayed for you to find a voice and you did.
I prayed for this day to come and it did.
You came home today and I shared the news with you.
And this time, it was your turn to cry.
I’m so proud of you. You never gave up on yourself. You never let a difference define you. You never stopped smiling through it all.
You climbed a mountain.