Sometimes I feel like we are in our own little apraxia bubble that takes the phrase “Home Sweet Home” to a whole new level. Jake is surrounded by a community that only wants the best for him; people who praise every word he says and those that love him unconditionally. Jake plays with his brother’s friends as if they are his own. Like us, they have become miniature SLPs in training, knowing how to help Jake communicate and typically understanding his garbled sentences.
I am a stay-at-home mom and Jake goes to preschool Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings for three hours. I drop him off and pick him up in car pool line, and I’m never around the other children in his class to hear what they’re saying. Also, because his birthday is in September, he is in a two-year-old class, so he is the oldest and his speech problems are not drastically obvious.
Last Friday, Jake’s school had Muffins for Mom and I mixed up a batch of my best allergy-free muffins and strolled in preschool with Lil’ Man proudly on my arm. He loves going to school and loved it even more that his mama was hanging out with him sipping on some juice and eating a blueberry muffin. Thirty minutes later I was on my way and I hugged and kissed him goodbye, and he quickly got back to happily playing with his train set.
When I got to the parking lot, another mom stopped me and said, “You’re Jake’s mom! My son talks about his friend Jake all the time!” And there it was. Evidence staring me right in the face that other kids Jake’s age are having conversations. Words that make up real thoughts, real feelings, and real friends. And, I of course, had no clue that this other boy existed.
I know it was an innocent comment … sweet and friendly even. But, it made my heart literally ache and long for a day when my child can tell me average, everyday stories about what he did at school and who he played with on the playground. I thought I had accepted his apraxia, but the instant sadness that blanketed over me, tells me otherwise.
With that being said, once we got back to our bubble, life resumed as normal. I am beyond thankful to live in this safe haven where I’ve got a little boy who smiles more than he talks and signs “I love you” to everyone who brings meaning to his life. I also feel truly blessed that he has made such huge strides with his speech since December. His SLP said this week that he has made a lot of progress in a short amount of time and she thinks if he continues on with intense therapy that he should be caught up by the time he gets to kindergarten. Yay!!!
Encouragement like that keeps me going and drives me forward more determined than ever to beat this thing.