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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Words.

My greatest wish for you is words.

I want nothing more in this world to hear you speak a sentence. I want to hear you tell me everything that goes on in that head of yours, so I can better understand you. I don't mean just the clarity of your demands and desires, but I want to know what makes you tick, what makes you giggle, what frightens you and angers you. I want to know how you feel about your world, what I can do to make it easier for you to exist in it.

I want to know your favorite color -- I have an idea from just watching you, but I want to hear you tell me if I'm wrong. I want to know if you have a favorite sweatshirt or stuffy or if you call your blanket the same name we do. I want to hear about your dreams and your nightmares and the games you play that for now seem wild, nearly feral because you are so entrenched in your own world and you have no idea how hard I long to be let in, to be a part of the existence you've created to cope with whatever it is that makes it difficult for you to do so on a "normal" level.

I want you to understand that I want so much more for you than this, what we have. I love that you have an imagination, I can see it plainly, but I want you to be able to come back to me, to the real world, and tell me your stories instead of wavering in and out of places and situations I don't understand because you're the only one who can see them and you don't yet know how to explain them to me.

I want you to know I was like you. To some extent I still am. I would much rather retreat into myself than deal with things I don't understand or that frighten me. My imagination is a wild place filled with the most awesome and terrifying things equally, and it is a place that you and your sister existed long before you split from one cell into two, becoming real. I question the way I process the outside world daily and I fear the day that I may not be able to cross that bridge and balance what is and what I see. The difference being, between you and I, is that the words came early, remarkably so, and I was able to ask my questions and think aloud and receive feedback and much younger than anyone anticipated, I was able to own my words and put them down, to show others the world inside my head and the way I see things.

I want nothing more than that for you. I want you to know the power of words, to master their use and employ them liberally. I want you to continually search for the best descriptors to show us what it is you see. I want you to want to know more words than you could possibly need in a lifetime, I want you to take that curiosity I see brimming under all of your confusion and stimulation and I want you to pursue it, to chase it down and never let it go, to learn anything and everything your heart could ever desire to know.

This is so hard for me, for someone who has always had the words, to witness. It's hard to see others younger than you -- some by as much as a year -- surpassing you by phrases and sentences and embracing those words I want so badly for you and here we are, not much further ahead than we were six, nine, twelve months ago. Yes, there is progress, but it is slow and every baby step is a monumental battle, one I cannot count on decidedly winning because at any moment you will recant and regress and I have no way of knowing what is sticking to the synapses in your brain and what is merely mimicry, to appease those around you.

I want to hear your voice. Not your screams or your babble but your voice as it wraps your little mouth into language. I want to know the difference between my name and your appreciation for the food you're eating. I want to hear your versions of the stories in the books you so carefully study but won't allow us to read to you anymore. I want to hear the questions you have and fears you harbor and the things that make you happy because I want to know you, the real you, who hides behind these delays and setbacks. I want to see a flicker of the boy you're yet to become, the man you might someday be -- not just the manifestation of your frustration and lack of tools and understanding that encompass your entire being, making you and the labels given to you symbiotic, inseparable.

I don't want to guess and translate anymore, substitute what I hope you mean for the indecipherable sounds you often emit. I don't want to watch you with eagle eyes to try to determine your versions of a bastardized sign language, inevitably misinterpreting you and causing another meltdown, another tantrum, another moment where you can't stand to be around me because I don't understand.

You must feel so lost and lonely inside that head of yours. You must think I don't like you or I don't care or that I'm punishing you when I don't give you what you want, what you think you're so clearly telling me.
Please know that will never be the case. Please know I'm trying my hardest, that this is near insufferable for me because all I've ever wanted for you and your sister is for you to love words, to use them to your advantage, to be able to share yourselves and your worlds with whomever you choose, however you choose.

I have only ever wanted for you to use your words, and it breaks my heart that somehow that is near impossible for you. I take this failure as my own and please know, no matter what I will love you and advocate for you and I will always always always fight to understand you.

But my greatest wish for you will remain for you to find words. However you find them, to whatever capacity you deem sufficient, I will never stop hoping that one day, someday, maybe even today, you will wake up and look at me, opening your perfect little mouth to say Hello Mama, I love you too.

There would never be a gift greater in all my life than for you to bestow that upon me.

But in the meantime, please be patient with me. This territory is so unfamiliar, so foreign, and I often feel as lost and confused as you must. I love you more than life, my child, and I will do whatever it takes to reach you, protect you, and love you, even if you never utter another syllable in all your days.

I just want you to want words for yourself as badly as I want them for you.

I just needed you to know that.

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