I always believed that Jessica might talk someday. My dreams had indicated that she would just start talking and I would be amazed at what she said. Her words reflected years of waiting until the right time to express herself and once she did, it was nonstop! These dreams fueled the fire of my hopes for many years. I never stopped prompting her, working with her, imitating her sounds, all in hopes that my dreams would come true but to this day they have not. Notice that I still cannot bring myself to say she will never speak, miracles have happened before.
Others have had such dreams of Jess speaking as well. When they share these dreams with me, I can see how Jess has entered their thoughts and I realize each time what an influential person Jessica is. I can honestly say that to know Jess is to know another level of yourself and the depth of understanding how someone as challenged as Jess can change your life and always in a positive way.
I do reflect on whether I did enough to try to tap into Jess’ capabilities, to free her from her silence. I look back on the word boards I created with the “yes” and “no” and how I would ask questions and follow through only after she pointed to one or the other. Sometimes I would provide assistance (hand over hand) when I knew what the answer would be. All the same, she never internalized the process. It was like she would humor me for a bit then just shut down always leading to feelings of frustration on her part, my part or both.
I remember chancing upon a new toy to give her for Christmas and being so excited at her interest but then it was gone…
Should I berate myself that the mystery was never solved? There are feelings of guilt as any parent might feel when they have failed to understand their child, or be able to fulfill their child’s needs. Sometimes we just need to accept various degrees of potential and acknowledge the small successes along the way. I have to admit that even though speech eluded my Jess, we did communicate in many other ways. Many times I was able to “guess” what she was trying to indicate just by her facial expression or her gestures. Those special moments when I saw in her eyes that spark that seemed to tell me “Mom, you got it!”.
Still, I wait for her to someday be able to say “mom”. I don’t think I will ever stop hoping for that. There’s just something about her that silently screams to get out. I think to myself, how can there be understanding with no words? And I do believe she understands…so much.
We were able to teach her to point and to lead you by the hand to indicate what she needed or wanted. Sometimes this would lead to what she couldn’t have and you just wanted to let her have it anyway because she had worked so hard to “tell” you. Silly isn’t it? Even at these times, you still can’t always get what you want…