"Mom, I have to go to the bathroom."
I understand why other parents are not delighted when they hear these words. I particularly understand why they might grumble to themselves, roll their eyes, or heave heavy sighs when they hear these words in the contexts in which I've heard them lately - yesterday, in the middle of a three-hour car trip just as we drove past the highway exit with the sign reading "Next exit - 10 miles"; today, in the hot grocery store parking lot, just as we loaded the last bag into the car.
I really do understand; but for me, there was no grumbling, no eye rolling, no heavy sigh. For me, there was excitement, enthusiasm, and a couple of dances of joy. Because for me, these eight words meant more than barreling at top speed toward the nearest rest stop. They meant more than having to deal with melting ice cream in the car and holiday shoppers in the grocery store.
They meant that we continued to carry a backpack with the same unused, unnecessary change of clothing, not because I'd been diligent or proactive, not because I'd read Bud's body language well, not because I'd been directive and encouraging -
But because Bud is increasingly able to read and interpret the cues that his body is sending to him;
Because he knew that he had information that I didn't have;
Because he wanted to engage with me in problem-solving;
Because he communicated not at the moment of crisis, but with enough lead time to resolve the problem without incident.
Bud has spoken eight-word sentences before, but with these particular eight words Bud told me everything I needed to know.