Friday, January 30, 2015

I am greedy with her words

I often wonder what Addison would tell me if she could.

Would she tell me that she loves the crunch of her boots on the hardened snow? Would she whisper glee at sliding around the house in her stocking feet? At twirling around the room to music? Would she clearly articulate that when it's cold she really wants to wear the PINK scarf to protect the harsh winter wind from tickling her throat?
Perhaps Addison could share the secret hiding behind those almond shaped blue eyes sparkling with joy and tell me what it is that makes her tick. Perhaps she could fill in the gaps of everything that happens at school and why she loves it so. Perhaps she could tell me EXACTLY the things that I do that truly frustrate her.
Maybe Addison could string her words together eloquently and confess to me why she pushes her brothers-- or why she wants to run away? Maybe Addison could explain why she needs to snack EVERY minute of EVERY day.

There used to be a time when Addison's vocabulary was so limited that she mostly whined. She is smart. She knows what she wants. But at that time she didn't have the ability to communicate it. So she whined and whined and whined and whined until I thought we just weren't going to make it.

Now her vocabulary has expanded a hundredfold. She is able to tell me basic needs and wants, and this makes me so happy. She has come so far! The whining has decreased from every minute of every day to just when she is supremely frustrated...which happens maybe once a day.

Yesterday I heard a 5 year old excitedly talking about this, that, and the other thing. This didn't make me sad or resentful that Addison couldn't babble on like that. No, it made me wonder.

What would she say if she could talk like that? If it was easy for her? If the beauty of her heart was translated into words?
Would she clasp my hands tight, lean in toward me and softly tell me that she loves me? Would she lecture me on all the things I am doing "wrong"? Would she tell me her favorite things? Would she explain how it is that she has no fear of strangers or dangerous situations? Would she share the secret behind the Addison smile and giggle?

Oh, she can say and "Wuv" and "NO" and "cute skirt"...but there are so many holes in between that I have to fill in for her that I often wonder if I'm filling correctly.

As her brow wrinkles in concentration and her rosebud lips open to impact her Addison wisdom (or request for ice cream), I am so proud of her words. I am thrilled by her communication. Seriously I can't believe how far she has come. Just now I asked her if she needed anything before her nap and she said "new sleeper" because her old sleeper had gotten wet. This information sharing makes me so happy and makes life SO much easier for both of us.
But I can't help but wonder what else she is thinking. What else is still to come from those sweet lips in the next few years.

I have stopped saying "Oh it's too bad she'll never do this" and started saying instead "I can't wait for her to show us this when she's ready."

A conversation with my daughter. Heart to heart...perhaps over a cup of coffee...Sharing our hopes and dreams. Conversing about our days in detail. Asking each other questions about things interesting us right then in life.

I dream of this. And I wonder...what will she say?

She'll probably start with, "Hey mom, why are we drinking coffee instead of eating ice cream?"

Today I bundled up all of the children to go outside and play in the softly falling snow. Addison said "ready" and put on her own boots, snowpants, and jacket. She said "sled" and "again" and "inside" when she started getting cold. She said "MY chocolate" as I handed out sippy cups of hot (lukewarm) chocolate.
Even though she communicated with me, there were so many gaps there. But as I stared at her rosy cheeks wet with fresh snowflakes, I realized something.

Addison has this gift. A gift of communicating so many things WITHOUT words.

While we were sledding, she couldn't say "Hey mom! I really love to sled! Thanks for taking the ten million hours to get us all ready to go outside!" But her shout of glee as she slid down the hill and beaming smile as she asked to do it "again" were enough. They said it all and more.

When I finished peeling back her layers of wet snow clothes and brushed an errant hair out of her eyes, she couldn't say "I really love how you work so hard to take care of me. Thanks for always being there for me." But she leaned in and wrapped her arms around me. Her soft body melded into mine and her blonde head rested on my shoulder. She sighed and simply held on. No words. And yet she said everything.
I thought about how greedy I am about Addison's improvements. She couldn't say a word? IT WAS SO HARD! She said a few words? IT'S NOT ENOUGH I NEED MORE. She said a lot more words? SHE'S STILL WHINING TOO MUCH. She said her basic wants and needs? I NEED MORE. I NEED TO FILL IN THE GAPS.

I am greedy. It's never enough.

In one sense, I want it for HER. I want her to alleviate all frustrations and communicate effortlessly. But really? I think she is quite happy with her speech right now. She LOVES to be able to tell us what she wants and needs. So this greediness? It's all me.

Her speech isn't where I "dreamed it to be"? I have to sit around and wonder what else is there? I have to peel back the layers of her mind and MAKE HER TELL ME EVERYTHING?

It's not about me. It's about Addison.

So as I placed her lunch in front of her and listened to her sweet "thank you" and "water please" and "more dippo". I didn't wonder what else she wanted to say but couldn't. I simply accepted her words for the miracle that they were.

And I realized-- they are enough.

She is enough.
This doesn't mean we stop working for improvements, because we keep working with Addison every day for her to meet her very highest potential. But every step of the way whatever that potential is, whatever her progress-- however far or little. She is enough.

As I just tucked her in for nap and placed a warm kiss on her forehead, she smiled at me. A smile so full of meaning and love that I knew so many things without her having to say a word.

I was struck with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for a daughter who can tell me what she needs and wants. And for her tell me the rest without having to use words at all.

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