Can you imagine what it would be like to be nonverbal? I mean, completely non-verbal? Not one word. Ever.
That’s the life of Hope and Charlie.
The way they communicate is the way I would communicate if I was non-verbal. Through behavior, they show me how they feel and what they want or need.
Big hugs mixed with giggles means they’re happy.
Pulling me to the pantry or the fridge means they’re hungry.
Peering out of a window means they want to go outside.
Sounds simple enough, right?
At times, though, being non-verbal is so much more complicated. A bit tricky even. Because sometimes Hope and Charlie want to tell me they’re feeling frustrated, sad, or angry. Other times they want me to know they had a bad dream or that they feel bored or that they have a tummy ache or that they miss their big brother so much it hurts. During those times, they might throw things, pull my hair, melt down into a heap of wild and wooliness on the floor….or else find a corner to hide in with head down as if wishing to give up and disappear.
I wish on every single star every single night that they could be given the gift of speech.
But at this point, those stars are not the wishing kind.
So we keep waiting, sojourning together, working with sign language, picture cards, and iPad apps….hoping to make communication easier. Not giving in. Not giving up.
I try to put myself in their shoes.
Would I want to try different foods? Explore different places? Meet new people?
If I would, they would. Even though they can’t tell me.
So we mix it up. We try new things. Sometimes we score big…other times it’s a total bust. But we try. Together.
We’re partners in the truest sense of the word.
Oh, you may say, that requires so much patience. Indeed it does, but not on my part. I have it easy. I have the voice.
It’s the Hope and Charlie’s of the world who can teach us all about what it means to be patient and to endure. Stop for a minute and think about all the things we get impatient about day after day. A restaurant forgot a portion of our to-go order. The traffic light took too long to turn green. The lines were too long at the grocery store. Our order from Amazon didn’t get delivered quick enough. The pastor preached beyond his time limit. A friend didn’t return a text until the next day.
We complain. We grumble. Then we post about it on social media.
And even worse.
We feel entitled.
To an easier lifestyle. To fast service. To perfection.
UGH. Isn’t it supposed to be the millennials who have the entitlement issues? haha.
I didn’t realize I had this mentality until Hope and Charlie came into my life, turning the world completely upside down. Or right side up. Yes, definitely right side up. They blasted into my space with their extra chromosome and shook things up big time. Changing my priorities. Showing me the difference between what’s important and what’s a throw-away. I don’t have it exactly right yet, but they are certainly teaching me.
How long will it take mom to find the splinter in my finger?
When will it dawn on her that I need her to lie down with me for a little while at night before I go to sleep because I’m afraid of the dark?
How can I let her know she’s tying my shoes so tight I can’t feel my toes? that bananas make me gag? that I’m scared of bumble bees? that I can’t manage steps too well? that I fell off of the swing today? that I lost my tooth two days ago? that someone stared at me and made me feel bad? that I can’t find my favorite toy? that I nearly choked on a piece of candy?
Until she figures it all out, I’ll manage. Making the most out of life. Wearing a smile. Giving hugs. Being happy with all I’ve been given.
Can you imagine what it would be like to be nonverbal?
Can you imagine what it would be like if we were all so patient?
Just my rambling thoughts.