Saturday, November 24, 2018

What Would You Say?

My sweet son, Benjamin,

At the time that I write this, you are 9.5 years old. You are my firstborn, one of the greatest treasures of my life. As your mommy, I know you possibly more than anyone else, yet there is so much more of you that I long to know. Last year, my heart burst with joy when you finally uttered the longed for word, "Mama." I had waited so long, and it was music to my ears. To this day you will only use this word when you are upset and in need of comfort, which I delight to give to you. I am still hopeful for the day you will say it with joy, just as I hope for the day that your language will be unlocked, and you will be able to give voice to the things on your mind and heart.


If you could speak, what would you have to say? You find little ways to communicate--sounds, gestures, expressions, some simple sign language, but how much do you wish to share that you are unable to? At times I can sense your frustration as I desperately try to interpret your wants and needs. Sometimes I am able to understand; other times I am at a loss. Two days ago we celebrated Thanksgiving, but it was a difficult day. As the morning wore on, you were showing increasing signs that you were not feeling well, but you couldn't tell us what was uncomfortable. You were acting lethargic, and then you refused to eat your lunch. We laid you down for a nap, only to check on you awhile later to find you covered in vomit. You couldn't tell us when it happened, and we could only hope that not much time had passed. Your daddy and I cleaned you up and tried to comfort you the best we could. You had little to no appetite the rest of that day or the next. At times you would break down crying, but you couldn't tell us what you were feeling. As your mother, I hurt when I see you hurting, and I wish I could make everything better again. I was relieved this morning when you eagerly ate your breakfast and seemed interested in playing again!

We missed the joyful demeanor you typically bring to a holiday meal. On a normal day, you leave the table as soon as you have finished eating, but holidays and birthdays are different. You know something special is going on when you see the table cloth laid out and the decorative centerpiece. You delight in the fact that extra friends and family have joined us. You are always the first one done, but on these special occasions you linger at the table, celebrating with gleeful sounds and expressions. Your exuberance blesses us all! What would you say to us in these moments of feasting and festivity? Maybe one day I will know.

Until then, I will choose to celebrate the ways you do communicate. On many a morning I will be sitting on the couch sipping my coffee, and you will approach me with a big grin on your face as you eagerly show me one of your beloved See-n-Say toys. These simple toys have mesmerized you since
your toddler days, and their songs and sounds have become the familiar background noise of our household. I love it when you show me your toys; you are intentionally finding a way to invite me into your world. Thank you! I will continue to cherish that happy smiles and hugs, and the simple signs and gestures you use when you want me to sing you your favorite songs. I will enjoy your animated dancing as you place your hands on my shoulders as I kneel in front of you, and you bounce up and down to the tune. I will appreciate your purposeful request for another toy from your closet shelf when you smile at me, grab my hand, and lead me into your bedroom. I will do my best to interpret your frustrations, when you express yourself through tears and grunts. When I can fulfill your desire I will do so with joy, and when it is necessary for me to say no, I will strive to communicate with loving firmness as I seek to teach you that there are boundaries and expectations in our family life. When you want to be held, I will happily cuddle with you, and when you are needing some space, I will respect your independence. In all things I will seek to demonstrate to you the depth of love in my heart that you may always feel cherished and secure.

My precious, Benjamin, your daddy and I love you so very much, and we will continue to pray for and believe that one day your language will burst forth, and you will be able to welcome us more deeply into your world. But even if our wish is not granted, we will diligently love you, care for you, and study you that we may better understand you. You are a little over-comer, and we look with expectation towards the future, not only in this life, but in the one to come. One day we will all leave this temporary life behind and enter into the eternal joy and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. In that day you will be made completely whole, and I cannot wait to hear all that you will have to say!
(photo by Simple Reflections Photography

All my love,
Mommy

If you enjoyed this blog and would like to know more about Benjamin's remarkable story, please check out my book Reflections from Holland: A New Mother's Journey with Down Syndrome

 

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