Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Mother’s Dream

I had just come home and saw Dear Son. He was lying on a pillow in his tent, watching t.v., happy to see me. I sat him up and lifted his 150 pound frame into his rocker. His rocker, is one that I bought used, not because I couldn’t afford a rocker but rather, for it’s absolutely perfect size. Perfect for Dear Son, who is now fifteen years old. I had searched all over to find one but it wasn’t until I went to an antique show in a far away suburb, that I found this particular rocker and knew it would work. At fifteen, an adult rocker is a bit too tall and deep for him and a child’s rocker is too small. This particular rocker is perfect because it is exactly the right height from the floor to his knees to allow his feet to touch the ground and for him to support himself. The back of the rocker is tall, full of round vertical dowels, tall enough to support the back of his head, since he can not support it on his own. The back is also bowed and wide, allowing plenty of room to support him if he starts to slouch.

He can sit in the rocker for a few minutes at a time. Once he’s exhausted, he’ll slide right out of the rocker and onto the floor, most likely hitting his head since he can’t stop himself once his body gives out. I know this, because it happened once. Once he’s tired, you have exactly one second, before this happens so you have to pay attention. His arms and hands have never worked, so when he falls, he’ll fall right on his head because he has no reflexes to put his hands/arms out in front of him when he falls. You have to sit right next to him when he rocks and as soon as he slumps to one side, you have to remove him from the rocker and put him in the wheelchair before he falls. Rocking in the rocker, is his favorite part of the day, so I always make sure to let him rock, even if only briefly, while sitting next to him in the chair.

He was sitting in his rocker gazing into my eyes as I talked to him. He had a big smile on his face and listened intently as I asked him about his day. I had a Respite sitter for a few hours so I could run some errands. I asked him how it was and told him about my day. Sometimes, I’ll hold his hand while I talk to him but most of the time, I just look him in the eye. At some point, it will seem like he wants to say something. I tell him that I wished that he could talk to me. We fantasize about what it would be like if he could talk, just for one day. I tell him that if he could talk for one day, that I wouldn’t say a word. I would let him tell me everything that happened that day and all about what happens at school. I’ll often dream up all of the things I’d like to hear him talk about and he’ll give me this great big smile. It’s a fantasy all right, but one he loves to hear. At other times, he’ll be lying in his bed and I’ll sit in the chair next to his bed talking to him and I’ll mention how great it would be if he could talk to me for one day. He’ll always smile and sometimes kiss my hand, letting me know that it’s a great idea or that I am saying exactly what he’s thinking. Then he’ll drift off to sleep.

Once he’s sleeping, my mind will wander off and I wonder what it would be like, to live in this world and never have any language. Never be able to talk, ever. I wonder how different the world would appear to me when I would have no voice, when all I could do was listen. I wonder what type of person I would be. Would I be the same? I wonder too, if you can never speak, how you feel good. It’s exciting when you get to tell someone about something good that has happened in your life. Or, it’s great to have a friend to confide in when things aren’t going very well. But what do you do when you never get to speak? About anything. What would it be like to go out to a restaurant and not say a word. Or go to a movie and not talk about it once it’s over.

I think about Dear Son sometimes when he goes to school. What happens when they do something at school that he did at home and he wants to tell them a story? Only, there is no story to tell because he can’t talk. He can only listen. It must be frustrating too.

I look over at Dear Son again and watch him sleep. He coughs and his cough sounds deeper now. I wonder if his voice has changed and how it might sound if he could talk. I wonder too if he dreams of the day when the children without any voices can speak and the rest of the world is silent for a day, and listens. I kiss his head and leave the room. It’s silent now. As it always is. Some mothers dream of the part of their day when it’s quiet, when their children aren’t talking and they have a few minutes to themselves. I wish for the day, when it’s no longer silent, and the only voice I hear, is that of Dear Son.


Kath said...

This is the sweetest...and I have ever read.

Anonymous said...

I was just thinking of this very subject yesterday. If only my son could communicate enough to explain all the mysteries...all the things we don't understand. I would probably laugh so much as it all made sense : )

Michelle said...

DM, remember when you told his dad that he wanted to go racing in the wheelchair, and you let him feel the wind in his hair and experience being a boy? You hear his words. They dont all have to be spoken. I think in so many ways, you hear him better than most people ever take the time to hear anyone. I know it isnt the same, but it is a beautiful language, all the same. I also sense your sadness lately, time is rushing at you I guess, and you are feeling hurried through these days...I am once again touched by the depth of your love for that boy. Thank you for the reminders.

Ex Utero said...

Wonderfully written.

Bugs said...

Simply beautiful. My own son, who is 5 1/2 and completely non-verbal makes me wonder these things every day. He hums and he moans in his sing-song way, but it isn't the same as a spoken word or a song.
I know he talks to angels tho, and that gives me comfort.

God Bless.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say how much you and your beautiful DS have touched my heart. Your love for each other is absolutely palpable. I am so grateful that you got to be his mom - nobody else could possibly take better care of him or love him like you do.

I had a beautiful son, Christopher James who died when he was 22 months old. He too would have never walked or spoken, but he and I knew each other better than anyone ever could. We communicated on a very loving level, and I knew when he was ill, tired, etc. by his gorgeous eyes. He died in 1996 and I still miss him so much. Thank you for letting me live through you and your beautful son - just reading your words brings Christopher back to me...


Jamie from Portland Oregon

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