when things look different.

Last month, I wrote this in my journal.

I've been waiting for about two years to hear those two glorious words come out of the mouth of my boy... the two words that every parent delights in hearing for the first time:

Mama and Dada.

He's two and a half now and I still haven't heard them. In fact, we haven't heard anything yet.

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I don't talk about Rowan much... not here, anyway. I want him to tell his own story on his own terms one day. He doesn't need me blabbing about his milestones, his behavior (good or bad), his potty training or his everyday antics. I don't want the things I write to define him in any way. I want him to be able to define himself in the world when he's ready.

But this whole parenting thing, it doesn't just affect the kids we raise... in fact, they shape us just as much as we raise them. My character and behaviors have been drastically altered since becoming a mother. Raising Rowan is changing me, moving me, and it affects absolutely every fiber of who I am. It's impossible to write about my life and my heart without including that little boy into the mix. And sometimes, there are things that happen with Rowan that affect me deeply... so much so, that it changes our day-to-day.

I'm having one of those moments now.

We've talked to a lot of people about his inability to communicate - all of whom have said he'll grow out of it, that it's nothing to worry about, he's just a late talker.

But the frustration he feels when he can't get talk... it's a lot. It's hard to watch, it's hard to handle, and it's hard to understand. It's not that he doesn't know the right word, or that he hasn't learned a word yet... it's that he doesn't say any words at all. The only thing he knows how to say is "Hi." And even then, it's hit or miss.

We took him to see some people last week about his speech - our choice to seek intervention had less to do with us than it did with Rowan and his frustration. They watched him and listened to him, asked him questions and recorded their findings. When it came to his speech, there were no surprises. Words like "delays" and "gibberish" were things we'd heard a lot and I was prepared for those words.

But then they watched some more and asked him more questions and had him do more actions and they started saying things like "sensory concerns" and "comprehension delay" and "repetitive actions" and "social stress."

And then I started to hyperventilate.

I was talking to my friend Elizabeth on the phone earlier and I told her, "I'd rather be told that I have cancer than be told that something is wrong with my child." I realize that probably sounds dramatic, but it doesn't make it false.

Today, I take Rowan in for another evaluation. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little scared. The outcome could be a number of different things, or it could be nothing at all. Either way, we'll know what "moving forward" looks like after the survey.

Regardless of what any specialists tell me, it doesn't change how much I love my child, or the lengths that I'll go to ensure his well-being.

It just hurts my mama heart & I wish it wasn't so.