by Kate Sytsma
How quickly these years have passed since you went from a whispered prayer, to a tender soul burrowed beneath my heart, to a small being tenderly emerging into this world taking your own first breaths. You were always quiet; observing, wide eyed, and unsure. You never cried, cooed, or whimpered. We had to learn the early you from only the fervent emotion that radiated from your eyes.
As the time passed on, the silence of your demeanor created both a peaceful tenancy, but also overwhelmed us at times; like any parent would desire, we needed some indication that you knew we were there. We needed to know we somehow stood out from the rest of the world that seemed to overwhelm you into silence. Little did we know you were just measuring the world, calculating the perfect time to make yourself known; silently rehearsing for the opening night of your Broadway debut, a one-act show starring you.
Finding your voice was a struggle, but when you did, boy you did. We watched in a mirrored reflection of your own frustration as you discovered an audible shriek that was to define every expression you had. Your emotion-filled eyes were the only help to us then too, like a beacon to your soul, a sure blessing from God, for without the light inside of them we would surely have been lost trying to find you.
I will never forget the day you discovered the words you had been absorbing from the moment you broke into this world. With a courageous roar we watched the gates that held back the expression of your discoveries fall to the ground as you pressed your eyes together, accentuated your larger than life heart-shaped lips, and angrily shouted “bubbles,” fearing that your Speech Pathologist would leave without letting you see them if you did not show her you could indeed use spoken language. From that day forward we never had to fear again that you would reserve the words you kept locked away. Your quota for spoken words on a daily basis is now far above what I can keep track.
You love to ask us what we know and tell us what you have discovered. Your speech is constantly overflowing with data and lessons that are both academically and spiritually infused. When reminded that sometimes there are places in this world where it is best not to speak, you often tell me you only talk when it is most important and that there should be no such place where verbal sharing is inappropriate.
Even as your vocabulary grows to an unrecordable measure, I find I can still reach you better through communicating with your eyes. Perhaps it is because this is where I first found you all those years ago, or perhaps it is because, somewhere, lost behind all of the knowledge and theories your words so often speak, is something more important your soul has left to tell; something still lost inside looking to find its way out. In your quietest of moments is when I hear your eyes speak the loudest. Your gaze cuts me like no other, sometimes painful, as if you are literally trying to etch the imprint of all your unspoken fears and desires into the depths of me.
Like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and being handed one piece at a time, so is the road map to your being. I know in time I will find you there, one piece at a time, and when I do our souls will embrace, for they have been together all along from the very first whispered prayer to the moment you burrowed beneath my heart.