Just for a day

Just for a day, I wish my daughter with Down syndrome did not struggle with her speech. I know she gets frustrated when we don’t understand her, she tries as hard as she can to enunciate her words right, but sometimes, we still don’t understand what she is saying. She gets irritated, swings her little arms in desperation and yells at us. I don’t blame her, I would feel angry too.

Just for a day, I wish I could have a conversation with Nichole like I do with my other two daughters. I want to hear about her day at school, about what she likes and doesn’t like. I would ask her all about her favorite things and I would spend the day talking, chatting, singing with her.

Just for a day, I wish Nichole’s speech was clear so that people would actually take the time to notice her, to enjoy her, and to listen to what she has to say.

Just for a day, I wish Nichole could speak her mind, all of it, good and bad. Non-stop chatter coming from her lips and straight into my ears.

Just for a day, I wish it was easy to communicate with my daughter.

She has a lot to say

Nevertheless, Nichole does talk. Sure, her words and phrases might be hard to understand, but she has stories to tell us and things to say. The older she gets, the better her speech becomes, and I am confident that we will get there, that someday she will be talking so much we might even ask her to stop.

Things take Nichole a little bit longer, and it is easy to become inpatient and take what we have now for granted. I love the fact that Nichole grabs my hand and shows me what she wants or needs. I love the fact that she is willing to repeat words after me and her sweet voice is one of the loveliest sounds I have ever heard. I love her “daddy” call, and her laughter that comes from such an overflow of joy. I love how she surprises and amazes me with new words or new statements. And I know we will get there.

I love the way she signs, or the way she makes up signs. I smile thinking about the way she grabs my face to get my undivided attention, and to make sure I am listening to what she has to say.

I love the way she embraces people without caring what they look like or smell like. I have seen a grown man with tears in his eyes, as he expressed, “She makes me feel loved.” And I realized that without words my daughter was able to communicate a love to this man that he had never received. And suddenly I wish I could speak her language of unconditional love.

And her speech will not always be an issue, I will have conversations with my daughter, and not just for a day.

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  1. says

    The desire to communicate and be heard and understood is so strong. We struggle on so many levels and in different ways. Thank you for communicating hope and love through this post. God bless!

    • Ellen Stumbo says

      Yes Marisha, you are so right about that. Which is why God continues to teach me many lessons through my children. Their struggles might be obvious, but then I look at myself and realize how many struggles *I* have, and how much I need to learn, change, and develop. Just in different ways :)

  2. says

    We are just beginning the frustration phase from lack of speech. Bridgie is 2 1/2 and has much to say. Undivided attention usually helps us understand, but as I am sure you all know that is not always possible in a family of 5. I will be looking for many suggestions.

    • Ellen Stumbo says

      Yes, undivided attention is great! have you heard about the “see and learn” program form downsed? It is awesome!

  3. says

    Thank you for the reminder. I witnessed this unconditional love today as Bridgie took her first Rolly Pollie gym class with same age peers. Was quite eye opening. None of the children had really great speech at 2 1/2 and younger but they sure had fun smiling and laughing at one another.

    • Ellen Stumbo says

      Cindy, I think the older Nichole gets the more I notice that she is delayed, but for the most part it doesn’t bother me, she is who she is meant to be, and I love her, every single chromosome. But that speech, sometimes it does get me.

  4. says

    Thank you for this post. I just came across your blog today; I find it a place I will visit often. Having never been in your place, I can’t imagine some of the things you write about. My heart goes out to you and your husband.

    But your words reached my heart in another way. We have a different communication problem. Our older son (both sons were adopted at an older age) has been in and out of prison for 25 years. We went 10 years without knowing whether he was alive or dead. This last stretch of no contact is 17 months. In that sense, I would like “just for a day…” to speak to him again.To remind him that I love him.

    God’s richest blessings in Jesus Christ.