Thursday, March 01, 2007

More Than Words

Its funny how things go in life - how so many of the things that happen in our lives go full circle and how sometimes it takes us so very long to realize it.

Saturday, I was waiting to get my haircut, and there was a man there with his little girl. She was a sweet little thing, very tiny, and very well behaved. I could tell it was his only child, because I so recognized myself in him as he spoke to her.

He was just conversational with her - he was playing word games to keep her entertained - "What comes after "F", What comes before "P", "What is after Monday?" "What color are your shoes?" "What does a dog say?" "Can you count in French? English? Spanish?"

And she was answering those questions left and right -- faster than I could, because I had to back up a few letters of the alphabet to figure out "what comes before."

Her name was Julia and she spelled it when he asked her to.

She was all of 22 months old, and everyone was very impressed by how very smart she was.

Dakotah was like that as a baby too, and I doted on her like this little girl's Daddy did. Although she didn't walk until she was 14 months old, Dakotah literally started speaking in full sentences when she started talking. We have a video of her first birthday where she is opening gifts, saying, "Oh, wow! I like that!" She potty-trained herself at 18 months, simply announcing that she would no longer be needing diapers.

By three, she was reading and when she started writing, she could write either the "right" way or upside-down and backwards - mirror image - with the same speed.

She was curious and very precocious. My mother-in-law said that she had never seen a mother talk so much to her child as I did. As she should have been, she was my world.

Dakotah would talk about ANYTHING -- she would talk to the silverware as she set the table, she would sing to herself as she peed. She could take any two songs, and sing the words to one, with the music of the other - try to do that -- sing "Wheels On The Bus" to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Its not all that easy!

I smiled at little Julia and remembered those special days I had with my first child. But I wanted to tell the dad that I was now 14 years in - and, well, once they start talking, they never really stop!

I still hear from her teachers, from other adults, etc, that she is very shy and very polite, and very quiet. That's very hard to believe. We still have that bond we formed so many years ago - and Dakotah still talks to me 24/7.

She is now 13.5 and jabbers at me from the moment her eyes open until they close at night. And she can still talk to the silverware as she is setting the table, lol. The other morning, I had to drive her about a half hour away to a basketball tournament - I swear,she went from topic to topic to topic without ever taking a breath.

If its in her head, and I'm near, its out of her mouth. Friends tell me I'm very lucky to have a teenager who is so open to me, but I have to admit, its sometimes very exhausting having a teenager who has an opinion on every single thing - who feels as if she is grown up enough to be a part of every conversation between Wayne and I. Sometimes, I am so talked out...yet I do know and understand that I have to keep the lines of communication open in the coming years, and I do my best to allow her to get out all she has to say.


Reflecting on little Julia, I was surprised that I compared her to Dakotah and not Paige. Gone forever are those wistful days that I would look at another little one for a moment and just wish - just for a second - that Paige would hit the milestone I was witnessing in someone else's child. I couldn't even muster up a "what if" scenario in my head for Paige.

Because, as that circle of life envelopes us, we learn that we are given what we need in this life, and if we listen very carefully, what we are given is usually very much what we want as well.

God, in His infinite wisdom, gave me Dakotah - my challenging little prodigy that will either be something spectacular in her life, or a very, very good used car salesman, lol. He stretched the limits of my patience with her curiosity, and her chattiness, and her constant bargaining with me. He gave me a daughter who I can see becoming one of my very best friends as she enters adulthood.

And then...He gave me Paige. A quiet little girl who is content to observe. Paige's world must be brought to her, and patience is required to show her all that there is in this great big world for her.

He gave me a little girl who has basically lost the little speech she had as a three-year old. And He forced me to learn to communicate in a much different way. Paige's soul speaks to me directly - I do not need words from her to know how she is feeling or what she is thinking - its as if when the cord was cut, only our physical bodies became separated - we are, in a sense, "conjoined souls."

I don't mourn what Paige isn't any more than I mourn what Dakotah isn't - they are both just as they are intended to be.

In her own way, Paige fills my days with communication as well. I miss her presence just as I miss Dakotah's. I chatter away to Paige as I did to Dakotah when she was younger.

I always have to pause when I'm asked what methods we use to communicate with Paige - I have to remind myself that some people see her as non-verbal, therefore, non-communicative. Although we work hard to help Paige speak, I don't even really miss speech with her - I forget that she doesn't talk with words, as her soul is so apparent to me.


Saying I love you
Is not the words I want to hear from you
Its not that I want you
Not to say, but if you only knew
How easy it would be to show me how you feel
More than words is all you have to do to make it real
Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me
Cos Id already know

What would you do if my heart was torn in two
More than words to show you feel
That your love for me is real
What would you say if I took those words away
Then you couldn't make things new
Just by saying I love you

More than words

Now Ive tried to talk to you and make you understand
All you have to do is close your eyes
And just reach out your hands and touch me
Hold me close don't ever let me go
More than words is all I ever needed you to show
Then you wouldn't have to say that you love me
Cos Id already know

What would you do if my heart was torn in two
More than words to show you feel
That your love for me is real
What would you say if I took those words away
Then you couldn't make things new
Just by saying I love you

More than words


"More Than Words" was the song Wayne and I danced to at our wedding. We loved this song so much, and talked about the meaning of it - how some people said I love you all the time, but never showed it. In our vows, we promised to show each other how much we loved one another. We promised that it would never become "just words," and we talked about that line, "What would you say if I took those words away..."

We were committed to remembering to show our love for one another, not just profess it. Across a room from one another, we always wanted the other to know how much they were loved.

When we were dancing, when the line, "Hold me close, don't e-vah let me go," came on, Wayne sang it in my ear, and I could have floated away on a cloud, I was so in love.

"More than Words" -- our motto as we began our lives together as husband and wife.

The song hit the Billboard Top 100 for the first time on March 23, 1991. Six years later to the day, our daughter would be born who would once again remind us of that promise we made to one another.


Tara Marie said...

I love this song....and will be back to read more of your post.

I hear you about blogging, before dinner, or right now in my life, at any point, as it just ain't happening.......

Thinking of you.

Camille said...

I've also always loved that song!
Dakotah, Paige, Amy, Emma. Wow, like you say, siblings so different, yet so very dear to our heart, each in their own ways...
I am so happy I now have my own relationship with Paige. Her and I are friends for life! Betsy, you are absolutely right, Paige has her way of communicating, and she does it beautifully!!!

jennifer said...

I love this post. And I feel the same way. Some of the very best ways of communicating have nothing to do with words at all.

And I love my quiet boy Avery, too. His gentle way, his even disposition. You know exactly what I mean, you have it too with Paige.

sprice said...

This is a beautiful post--it brought tears to my eyes!
I worry about Jude not talking sometimes since we are all such a family of talkers (I have a 14 yr-old son who never shuts up!), but this post made me remember that Jude will communicate with us one way or another. He already does.

Beth & Jude