There are a lot of things I enjoy about not being able to talk. I didn’t always feel this way, but as I grow older (and therefore wiser) I feel there are things I understand now better than before. The power of the human word is one such thing. Instead, I snuggle. Or wag. Or jump. Which I’m good with most of the time. But there’s this thing about words, about the art of language, that I value above my entire arsenal of nonverbal vocabulary. Few things are as powerful from person to person as the right (or wrong) set of words.
It’s been happening around here more and more, as dear Carter learns to talk. He is saying his toddler version of things like “hi, baby” to his new little brother and “what’s that?” about various unfamiliar (and some familiar) things. He says “uh oh” when an episode of Curious George ends or he drops his sippy cup when he’s in his high chair. He says momma and daddy. And he understands way more than he says.
So when it happened tonight it really was a thing of beauty. Mom and dad say it to him all the time. They’ve been saying it since the day he was born. But now he said it back. “Love you,” mom said, as she always does throughout the usual bedtime routine. “Yove You,” he said back. It didn’t matter that the diction wasn’t quite right. What mattered was the word. Yove. From the ground up, it sounds a lot like love.
So it went on like that for a while, ultimately involving dad too. It was an all out love fest around here as a result. It made me long for the power of language so I could have joined in the fun. Instead I stood by, as I always do, and bore witness to the power of language. I don’t need to be able to talk to appreciate moments like these.