Impromptu drinks last night at a dear friend’s house was just what I needed. We sat around enjoying lychee margaritas (Mmmmm… YUMMY, I’ve never had lychee before….). There were three women there I had never met before but that didn’t stop any of us from jumping into the conversation and sharing like only women can do.
Obviously when mothers get together kids and the epic hilarity that motherhood induces was the main topic. We shared goofy stories around the table: life lessons imbued with laughter.
One of the women had us in tears, sharing a tale of rushing from the bathroom mid-tampon insertion to stop her precocious toddler from falling off the kitchen island. The honesty of the situation only made it funnier. “You see,” she said, giggling, “my younger son can’t talk, so I had to ask my older son what was happening…” She went on to shyly admit he was in speech therapy.
I asked her who she was seeing, telling her that my son once worked with a speech pathologist for years.
Naturally, it was the same therapist.
And of course, as fate works in its most magical and needful way, her son has the same diagnosis as mine.
There we were, two women who had never met, on either side of this mothering spectrum, walking along the exact same path in life, brought together by a mutual friend and drinks. It is always amazing, the way fate dances in our lives.
And so her need to talk about her worry and devotion and struggle with her child came out. She is where I was 12 years ago. Her fears of his uncertain future were as tangible as mine once were.
And I realized that I was there to help her. What a profound moment in my life. I was able to gift this young mother something I wish could have been gifted to me long long ago.
I was able to assure her that her son was going to be okay. I was able to tell her that my son, who once wasn’t able to say anything other than mama and dada now talks my ear off. I was able to comfort her with my own son’s progress that belied my own buried fears of him never being able to speak and be part of any sort of quality life. I too was once terrified that my child would never be able to talk “normally”, that he would skirt the edges of society, that he would be eternally picked on, excluded, that his suffering would be larger than he would ever, ever be able to contend with.
Her eyes filled with tears at my insistent assurance. Yes, it is a tough road to walk, this therapy, sign language and struggle. There will be days that you will feel frustrated, progress is slow and sometimes nonexistent with speech therapy. Yes, the arm chair critics who offer cutting words of negative judgement and unneeded opinions will be maddening at times and yes, deeply hurtful. Tears will need to be shed, prayers offered, hands held, support sought. But through all of this, that light at the end of the tunnel is bright and beckoning. Every word learned, every sign dropped, every little milestone will make that light shine a little bit more until one day you realize you are no longer walking towards it, but rather you are immersed in all of its dazzling glory.