This Groundbreaking Moment Only Happened Because of My Nana


We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, and I’m not too ashamed to admit, we’ve had a lot more downs than ups. It doesn’t help that I hate asking for help. It makes me uncomfortable. Especially with money.

With my Nana, I never had to ask. She always offered. I tried to turn her down, but she never let me. She helped us out. So we tried to help her out when we could to try to make up for it — fixing a lawn mower here, helping with her truck there. Someday I hope to pay her back for all she’d done for us.

One of the biggest things she ever did was get the kids a Kindle.

“You know I saw one of those Kindles on TV! Do you think one of those would help the boys?” she asked me.

“I don’t know, Nana, they wouldn’t know how to work one if you did. And I don’t want you to spend the extra money if they don’t end up liking it.”

“Well, if they don’t like it, you guys could use it!”

“Yeah… but…”

“We’ll call it an early Christmas present.”

She always did that — claimed she wouldn’t get us things for Christmas or a birthday since she was getting us something else right now. But then she did anyway.

I had reservations because I didn’t want to be that parent. The one who gets their kids things they didn’t really need, the one who raises zombies on their devices all day. The one who has a 6-year-old with a cell phone. I wanted my kids to be outside, not watching TV and playing video games.

Only, my kids didn’t know how to play outside. Our version of playing outside was taking walks. Once the walk was over, it was time to go inside. There was no, “We took our walk, now let’s play in the mud or with trucks.”

The boys loved their movies. I think it has something to do with the fact that movies are predictable. The kids could watch the same movie over and over and over, and they were happy with that because they knew what was going to happen. For someone who can’t understand what anyone is saying and rarely knows what’s going, something predictable for is comforting and calming.

They ended up loving the Kindle. It was a huge blessing. Eventually Nana got us another one so both boys could have their own (they fought like crazy over the first one).

Then I got an iPad mini for myself when we finally had the money to do things like that… which, of course, Tyler fell in love with, so eventually we got a shock-proof case, and it ended up being the kids’ tablet.

After all the devices and all the tablets we’ve tried out there, our favorite is the iPad. Now we’re using the First Nouns app with both of them on the iPad. Tyler can look at a word and recognize that it means the correct corresponding picture. Justin, for the first time ever, is using the app to match pictures. He never played with the games/apps on any of the devices.

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For a long, long, long time, I thought that my kids might not ever talk — that I might not ever hear their voices. But after a year of Tyler using the iPad to watch his favorite (educational) TV shows more often, he can say and is now recognizing more words than I can even count.

He’s still nonverbal, but I’d consider him more “preverbal” now.

Neither of them can tell me what they want, they still can’t understand me if I ask them a question, when they’re in pain they can’t tell me why or what hurts, and I still have never heard them say, “I love you”.

But because of these devices and these apps, I have hope for my kids. They’ll be able to live to their full potential.

And all of that has happened because of my Nana.

This post originally appeared on The Driver and The Wife.

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