Friday, June 28, 2013

ponderings and popsicle sticks

Dearest Lily,

It's 8:05 Friday night, and you and I are here at home alone with Hayden. Most of the kids are at the park playing tennis and baseball, Mackenzie and Tyler are out to dinner, and Daddy is at the coast working late. Hayden is sleeping contentedly in his swing beside us, while you snuggle on my lap as I type. You're still tiny enough to fit there nicely... as always you are sucking your thumb and staring at the screen earnestly as if reading the words I write. A cool summer breeze is blowing through the windows - finally - a perfect end to a hot Oregon day.

As I sit here quietly typing, you finger the sticky popsicle stick on the desk, leftover from my dessert. You murmur to me - mmmm - and slide off my lap happily, your prize in hand. And now, echoing from the living room, I can hear your pretty sing-song voice, proclaiming joy over your new found toy. You find so much pleasure in the simplest of things, and I can almost guarantee you will spend the next twenty minutes pondering that popsicle stick, holding it proudly in the air for imaginary friends to see. You'll make up a story for those spell-bound spectators, gesturing wildly with one hand while waving your treasure in the air with the other, each movement punctuated by the notes of your story-song.

"La la la la BWAH la la bah !" you sing earnestly to a host of invisible onlookers, and you smile at their response. Pausing to stare at a member of your captive audience, then bursting out in peals of laughter, you are a one man show, just you and your popsicle stick.

And my heart fills up, wondering what it is you see, what thoughts are filling your pretty little head as you entertain your friends, what it is that those nonsensical syllables mean to you. You're three and a half years old, and although new words are filling up your vocabulary daily at an astonishing rate, the old ones remain fixed in place - the ones I don't know the definitions to.

I wish so much I could peek into your mind and know the meanings to those words - because although they are foreign to me, they make up a language that seems instinctive and native to my Lilybird. You utter them with such sincerity, these babblings from heaven, that I know there must be angels listening in rapt attention. Countless times throughout the day you talk to me in this baby language, and try as I might I can't decipher one word. But you know, of that I am convinced.

So tonight, as the sun fades into the trees behind me, and you find your way back onto my lap, I am thinking of how very far we've come. Because there was a day when this mystery language might have scared me, this barrier between you and me. There was a time when all I thought about was how or when my little girl would talk to me, and all of those unanswered questions wreaked havoc with my mind.

But here we are, three and a half years into this journey called Down syndrome, and somehow - without even knowing how we got here - I'm okay.

I'm okay with the fact that speech took longer than I'd anticipated, is coming more slowly than it did for your brothers and sisters, and that we'll still be working on it for years to come. I'm okay with the fact that sometimes we have to work together to know what it is you need, and that often I'm just hoping I got it right. I can listen to other typical three year olds articulate their needs so clearly, watch others even younger than you string words together so perfectly, and not feel that heart-stabbing pain that used to accompany such comparisons.

Because you're just you, Lily. And I have so much love for you, so much pride and appreciation and gratitude, that milestones and words like "typical" and "average" just fall by the wayside in light of who you are. 

And that doesn't mean we won't keep striving for the very best for you, or that I'll ever just settle for second best when it comes to getting you all the help you need. I will always do my best to expect not accept, always pray and believe and hope and challenge you to be all that God made you to be.

But with all my heart I am so delighted with the uniqueness that is you. You are a gift I don't deserve, a little girl who has more charm in her little pinkie than any little three year old I've met, and every day you show me what life is really about. I am so blessed to be your mama, and I don't know why God chose to pour out such a blessing on me by giving me you, but I am so glad He did.

And some day when we get to Heaven I'm going to ask God to show me what was hidden in your heart, what beautiful words and stories and pictures you were sharing with the angels that summer day...with the popsicle stick in your hand and that shining little smile on your face...

Until then I remain forever grateful to be,

Your mama oxoxox


Just a quick note to say thank you so much to all who have donated to our Saving Penny giveaway. We'll draw a winner for the iPad on Monday- if you haven't had a chance to read the giveaway post, you still have two more days to enter ...spread the word !


patsy said...

Tears this morning...happy tears. You always write so beautifully Patti....your words always touch my heart so. I too feel so very blessed to get to watch my Magpie enjoy the simplest of things....she like Lily is thrilled for the longest with a Popsicle stick, a piece of ribbon, a twig off of our tree and pure joy when she causes the bell to ding on her new trike...she still smiles every time ....days later.. Our girls are such sweet reminders to take in and enjoy every little thing. I also do not know what I did to deserve such a blessing, but am so thankful to HIM everyday to get to look at the world through our girls eyes.

Beth said...

How sweet. I remember those days of words but no meanings. My daughter used to give long speeches when she was that age. We didn't understand but she used her hands to emphasize certain parts. Now we understand more of the words.

trooppetrie said...

oh these words put me in tears. My son talked late, my daughter still struggles at 10.
My friends daughter is autistic and I love to sit with her and listen to her talk. If I take the time to listen and watch her expression I can sometimes get it. And it is worth it for the sometimes. said...

This was beautiful! I've been preoccupied with the challenges we have going on right now so haven't stayed caught up on IN or your blog but this was such a perfect post to start with. I am in awe of you and how you do it all. I'm thinking of you and know the loss of your father is still something you're dealing with so we are praying for you and sending lots of love to you. Brooke

Elizabeth Clark said...

This was beautiful as always.
Have you ever thought of writing a book? I just finished Bloom by Kelle Hampton. It was amazing. I'd love a book by you w/ more a of a Christian outlook, but maintaining the deep honesty and reality of Kelle's book!

Nancy Malone Waynick, M.O.M. said...

Only started following you recently because my daughter shared you with me. I've fallen in love with your sweet Lily. She is truly a gift from God. Thank you for sharing her with all of us. Blessings to you & your lovely family.

Jenny said...

I love it when you write like this :)

I still struggle at times feeling that sting of wishing my boy could talk to me. So I loved reading this...I loved the line where you say the words like "typical" and "average" just fall by the wayside in light of who you are.

Beautiful words. Beautiful post.

cara said...

Tears!!!! I can relate so much with Benji.

Benji does not have a vocabulary list at all at this point. I think he is still only saying a few words. And sometimes I think it is all inside of him, and he could say whatever he wants, but he is hiding it. Some days I want so badly for him to speak to me. But that is not Benji. He has a look in his eye that I understand. There is love that connects us. And I am so grateful for the boy he is. We will help him communicate all that he can, but I am at a place to be content with where he is. He babbles and smiles and dances and plays. He is happy. We are blessed.

Continuing to pray for you Patti. Much love! xoxo

kirsten said...

This gave me tears as well. Mostly because I feel EXACTLY the same way about my Ellie. She is almost 3. The only thing different is that I really think I can understand her most of the time. :) I love what you said about asking in heaven though, so precious!

Lena said...


amy jupin said...

i haven't visited in a while...not on purpose or because i haven't wanted to, just busy life. but reading this post reminded me, so eloquently i might add, that i need to return more frequently. your words fill me up. lily fills me up. your relationship with her is so similar to my relationship with ben. we need to remind one another of the beauty, of the sweetness, of the perfection in our every day lives. thank you mrs. patti. have a blessed day! and thanks for blessing mine.

Tammie said...

This is a sweet post, Lily and the rest of your family are so lucky to have such a great mom.