Quinn unambiguously said "da da" and pointed at me this morning. He was holding one of his favorite books and wanted me to read it. Tonight he said "da da" a few times when he wanted to be carried when we were looking at the Thompson Avenue Christmas lights.
It was an extremely rare moment for me. I felt so proud of Quinn and so loved by him. It made my heart so happy. But there was melancholy too. I thought to myself, "So this is what those other parents are going on about all the time. This is the love and joy that they're always talking about. This is what sustains them when things get hard, as they inevitably do. No wonder they gush so much." I wonder how much easier parenting would be for me if I got those moments more often. I wonder how much more often I would get them if Quinn were more "normal."
When Quinn said "da da", I felt like I could endure endless sleepless nights, nurse him through an infinity of sick days, wipe a thousand runny noses and change a million poopy diapers with a smile on my face. All it took was a little recognition, a little declaration of his understanding that he knows who I am. Why are those words so important? I know he loves me. I see his face light up when I pick him up from school, I see the laughter in his eyes and heart when I play with him. I know he recognizes me. But somehow it isn't the same as when he says it. Why is that so important? I know part of it is that we've waited so long for him to speak, and to see speech finally emerging is like warmth on a bitter winter day. But this is different than "go" or "ah duh" ("all done"), as wonderful as it is to hear those, or see them as signs. It's ME. I'm "Da Da". What he said means me. And knowing my child means me; nothing has moved me the way that knowing has moved me. I suppose it's like the first time you realize that the person you're in love with loves you back, but it's along a different, quieter dimension.
Well, of course I tried, with mixed results, to get him to say it again and again and again. But Quinn is not one for command performances. I'll have to be patient and let "Da Da" come to me as a gift. I love you, Quinn. Da Da loves you.
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