As much as I love to hear my youngest child call “Mama,” I long for “Dada.” It seems only right that I would contemplate this still nonexistent expression for my husband. I ache to hear the simple utterance from our almost three year old son. Is the grass always greener? Why must we always want more? Human nature perhaps, a mother’s ear waits and listens, pouncing on the most unintelligible jabber and then molds it into the beautiful thing we call language. That’s how the plan usually unravels but as we have learned, life sometimes veers sharply into unknown terrain.

Our first three children said “Dada” way before they uttered “Mama.” I’m sure it’s logged neatly in their baby books, at least the books of my first two children, back when I actually took the time to carefully scribe words and weights and glue envelopes containing locks of hair. It’s not that Amos doesn’t know his dada, he certainly does. When Amos sees his daddy, he bounces in excitement and growls in anticipation of the dada that he knows will growl back. The atmosphere is palpable with the giddiness of Amos as he awaits the fierce tickling that most daddies dole out, particularly to their young sons.

His eyes say “Dada,” his smile says “Dada,” his joyful anticipation says “Dada,” but his mouth says nothing. Not a sound. Amos watches my mouth ever so intently as I form the word on my lips throughout the day, integrating its’ modeling into nearly every activity throughout the day. Though he watches, his tongue does not yet cooperate. If I could have one wish, it would be to hear “Dada.” Though my husband has never spoken of his disappointment with the gap in language directed towards him, I know it must lap at his heart. All parents long to be recognized and to be named by your child is of the most precious of gifts.

It’s a gift that went virtually unrecognized at our house as our first three children were gifted the ease of language. It was not until the arrival of Amos, our five pound bundle, a little boy with an enrapturing smile and an endearing spirit, that we realized life would never be the same again. It has not and will not, regardless of “Dada,” or a whole slew of words that one day might miraculously pour from his perfect bow-shaped mouth. It is Amos who has reminded us or perhaps instilled in us that love has no expectations, limits, or boundaries and the development of a child in bloom is the most amazing gift of all.

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