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

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