The word came out clipped and short and as bright as a major chord on a well tuned guitar.
It was my son's first repeatable word beyond Da and Ma and we all laughed when he said it twice and three times and beyond. It was a joy. He smiled and laughed at our delighted reaction.
My son's speech has been delayed. It's been suggested to us that this is part of the normal course of affairs for kids with Cerebral Palsy; though no one has given us a concrete understanding of why this is the case. We had been (and are still worried) that there may be more of an issue with his speech than just a delay. But today gave us more hope.
I remember waiting for my daughter's first word, wondering when she'd begin to tell us more about herself. I was excited as she started to grasp the language and repeat lines from familiar stories we'd read her. It was fun and she was a quick study.
With my son it's different. Because the brain is so complex, and the impact of the stroke that affected him is so hard to measure, we're just not sure where his development challenges will come from. We watch each of his behavior changes closely. We discuss them exhaustively and try to determine what each might mean. Today, we did not need to discuss, we knew this was good.
It will likely be a long road still. The New Jersey's Early Intervention program has assigned him a speech therapist who will be working with us in the near future. We may, depending on insurance, try to do more. We also practice each technique we were given at his formal speech evaluation for Early Intervention. There is a lot to do.
But for today we can at least be sure that some of the work has paid off. Our son has made his first step into the language. Our boy has the word.