My Son Taught Me to Speak to Him Using a Language Without Words


The experts told me my son would have significant language delays. But I think they should know that my son now, at 20 months, speaks two languages.

About a year ago we started teaching him baby sign language. With a few months of repetition, he slowly started mimicking our hand gestures. A few short months later, we spend our days talking about balls and hats and outside and dogs and phones and food and brushing our teeth and going night-night and dogs and babies and airplanes and noses and books and music and blocks and cars and bananas and dogs. And, oh, do we laugh and giggle and chuckle!

But there’s another language he speaks. He speaks it with his big, round blue eyes. His soft wavy strawberry hair. His sweet infectious grin. His affectionate hugs and wet kisses. He speaks it with his love for people over things. His soft boyish chuckle. His determination and strength. His fully present attention.

He speaks the language of love and teaches me how to speak it as well. He is kind and patient with me as I’m learning what he needs from his mama. And he needs a mama who knows boasting in accomplishments doesn’t make one more lovable or valuable. That these self-professed accomplishments often just puff us up, make us rude and encourage our arrogance. I believe he speaks love by living the life God has gifted to him with so many smiles and laughs and affection. And he reminds me daily that love is strong, love believes in the best and love is forever enduring.

I’ve learned that for many years I’ve spoken love poorly, but I believe by the grace of God through this little boy, I will learn to speak love — in all her dimensions — so that what the world hears is healing, momentous and life-giving.

Allison Byxbe.1-001

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability and/or disease, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Uncategorized Disorders

I’m Not the Mother I Was ‘Supposed to Be’

I used to think I would be the mom at the playground sitting on the bench casually chatting with other moms. I envisioned myself holding my coffee talking about planning playdates and new Pinterest crafts. The other mothers and I would laugh and talk about the silly things our children did while calling out to [...]

Why I'm Tired of Talking About Ableism

I’m tired of talking about ableism. I’m tired of waking up and seeing stories in the news about people treating people with disabilities like people. I’m tired of seeing it treated like the exception and not the norm, and people deserve a cookie for being a good person who is so kind to the disabled person when [...]

I'm Not the Person I Was Before I Had a Child With Special Needs

The other day I was reading a post reminding parents not to lose themselves or forget who they were before they became a parent of a child with special needs. The article was telling parents to make time for the things they loved and the friends they laughed with before their world completely changed. I understand the intention [...]

When a Trip to the Park Turned Into a Close Encounter of the Ableist Kind

It was 3 p.m., but it felt like 4 p.m., and we live in Vermont, so the low-hanging sun made it look like 5 p.m. My daughters, Fiona and Petra, and I cast long shadows on the ground. My shadow was in the middle, holding Fiona’s hand on my left and Petra’s hand on my [...]