Tag Archives: senses

Do you hear what I hear?

hear You think I have the wrong photo.  A story about hearing should have a picture of an ear, naturally. But listen… listen to my girl. Listen to her speak.

You will hear her at age 2 and a half.  There are very few words but tons of expression.  You will see that she is thinking. She notices there are cows in the book. She notices that she’s wearing cow pjs. She says ‘eeeez’ for cheese and lots and lots of MAHM (mom) for filler words. She’s in there, and she knows it.

You will hear her at age 4, after 2 years of therapy.  You will hear me prompting every response and you will hear her answer awkwardly but correctly. One-word answers, but with joy. Lots of new words in 2 years. ‘Neigh-neigh’ for horse and purple and Bubba could possibly be the same word… but it’s what she can do. It’s inarguably progress.

And now, she is 6. She speaks like your average 2-year old, but we are MILES, states, and continents from where we started. She has different, distinctive vowel sounds and a regular rhythm.  She is so, so very far behind her peers… but she is moving forward.

It is music to my ears. The difference is stunning. Perhaps you have to have lived through the last four years of therapy to hear it. Perhaps, just maybe, it doesn’t sound like much has changed. I get that. But hidden there in the effort and the smiles and the consonant-vowel-consonant combinations… hidden there is something I have not heard before.

It sounds like possibility.

reading a book (age 2 and a half)

talking about her horse (almost 4)

reading a book (age 6)

doing her vocabulary words (age 6)

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mirror, mirror

abby's eyes

She crawls to the hallway mirror every day, every hour… to peek.

It’s stunning, really.  She giggles at that Little looking back at her.  She jabbers away to herself… kissin’ and high-fivin’ and smilin’ at the pretty, toothless, chubby girl looking back. I see you, Sweet Girl, and you are gorgeous.

I don’t know when exactly it all changes. Maybe junior high. Maybe earlier, now. But that sweet joy of seeing your reflection? It disappears somewhere in between high chairs and bus stops. We notice our friend’s clothes, we feel awkward in our skin, we want what others have. It is as certain as the sun rising… we women will struggle.  We will be discontent and disillusioned, and over time the reflection becomes something to fix. Something that is not funny.  Our eyes, they have changed.

Then maybe we make some amazing friends who make us feel normal, awesome, beautiful again.  We remember that everyone’s different for a reason, that the internet and magazines are impossible, that we look like our grandmother… and we like it.  We begin a new journey of acceptance and repair.

Then maybe we have children… you actually grow life within you… and our body changes to make it work- everything from the tips of our hair to the shape of our hips. We grow children and we find ourselves, again, confused with the reflection and the wardrobe and the image staring back. Our eyes, they are fickle.

For now, for such a sweet little time… her reflection is pure joy.

Let me remember this time… this sweet, sweet time… when that reflection was right and perfect and the best part of every day. And let me remind her, when the image fades and feelings get cloudy, that she is beautiful and eyes are tricky.  People are tricky.  Sight is tricky.

Best to look with the heart, as He does, and remember that all is as it should be. And, it is good.

1 Samuel 16:7

The Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.


touch

The night before I got married, my maid of honor (Pat’s daughter) and I shared my twin bed after a long day of moving furniture, books, and kitchen gear to my soon-to-be new home.  A twin bed and about 84 pounds of blankets.  The next morning, she gave me a card.  I couldn’t find that card now if my children’s lives depended on it, but I do remember the words.  I always remember words.  Something about friendship, something about marriage, a blessing… and then, in essence, this:

“Know that every time you tossed and turned last night, every time my hand landed on your shoulder, every time- I was praying for you.  For peace, for strength, for joy.”

Sometimes, Ry’s anxiety swells to hysteria.  These episodes are always worse when we are tired.  Or, say, perhaps, when we are camping with 12 other family members and it’s light until 10pm.  She begs me not to leave her in the tent to fall asleep.  She begs me to lie with her.  She begs me to be a better mother.  It is close to spinning dangerously out of control… so I leave.  I zip the tent shut and walk away.  Down the trail, around the corner, away.

And, out of nowhere, I see Steph’s handwriting on that wedding card so many years ago.

When I return, I pull up my camp chair to the (sobbing) tent and silently press my hand against the fabric.  The sobbing turns to sniffling as a little hand instinctively matches mine on the other side of the canvas.  

And I pray for my Rylie.  For peace, for strength, for joy.

I wash Gus Man’s feet tonight.  I do it to calm him down.  I do it to erase the mud, sand, and grease he has collected since dinner.  I do it to send him to bed cleaner, but I quickly find myself on holy ground… right there at the kitchen sink, with a little boy and his double-fists of matchbox cars.

And I pray for my Gideon.  In-between toes and bubbles, I pray.  For peace, for strength, for joy.

Abby June is sleeping next to me.  I watch her back rise and fall with the easy breaths of a carefree infant.  I place my hand on her back and I smile.  I know this is a moment… just one quick, simple moment.  She breathes, up and down.

And I pray for my Abby June.  For peace, for strength, for joy.

Maybe, just maybe,

I am learning another way to pray.

To touch.