Their first smile
The first tooth that pokes through
The first time they crawl
First time the say "I Love You"
First time they ride a bike
First day of school
First time riding the bus
Many many firsts... which I've tried my best to document on my blog. However, there was one 'first' that took a little longer than most, and I didn't experience until very recently.
Since the time Bennett was born, I probably tell him I love him no less than 245 times a day. At least. And from the time he started uttering words, I have been waiting and waiting.... and waiting -- for him to tell me that he loves me too. For 4 years, I had never heard those sweet words come from my sons mouth. Obviously, he shows me he loves me in many different ways. But something about hearing him say it... I needed it. I've been very open about Bennett's speech delay. He struggles a lot with communication and being able to express himself. He also struggles with a learning disability, so in the past few months, I've wondered "Does he even understand what those words mean?". I tried my best to explain it to him, but it's a hard thing to explain to a child.
Every night, when I tell him I love him, I always wait an extra long time before I leave his room... just in case he says it back, I wouldn't want to miss it, you know? I even started to ask him "Bennett, do you love Mommy?"... sometimes he would nod his head... but sometimes he wouldn't respond at all. And if I'm being honest, my heart would always ache a little bit when I wouldn't get a response.
But a few weeks ago, we went through our bedtime routine. Bathtime, brush teeth, put on PJ's, say prayers, get tucked into bed, and then I gave him a kiss and told him "Mommy loves you so much!"
I kissed his cheek again, started to walk out of the room... and that's when I heard it.
"Love You Mama"
I kid you not, I don't think I've ever heard anything more precious in my entire life. Tears started streaming as I ran back into his room and threw my arms around him. In that moment, I was the happiest I'd ever been.
And every night since then? He's told me he loves me at nighttime before bed. Not any other time during the day, but always at night. And I'll tell you something, it's my favorite time of the day.
I think sometimes we take those little things for granted... the things that come (to some children) so easily. I wonder, if Bennett had started saying I Love You around age 2 like most kids do, would I have appreciated as much as I do now? I don't know. But I do know that sometimes the best things, are worth the wait. Because every time he says it, my heart feels so warm and full. And I'm so thankful for my little boy and all his love.