Believe me, I love words. So often, they are my magic and my medicine. In the quiet corners of my life, I am lost in words. Words that form stories, and hopes, and questions. And dreams.
One of my favorite parts of parenthood has been the ascent to language. Nothing has delighted me more than watching my girls gain words, and put them together. Every single day, I am amazed by something they say, by something they ask, by the way they are able to articulate something. Something silly or simple or profound or even brilliant. Brilliance - evident in the weaving of words - manifests more often than you'd think around here. This brilliance is for me a beacon through the gray and gritty glory that is being a mom.
But there is one creature in my world who has no words yet. She is ten weeks old. And she's getting plump and perky. Her eyes are a dashing blue, a bragworthy hue, and those eyes say so much. But so does her voice. That's right, even though she is in the land before words, she has a voice. A unique one, loud and lovely and lucid. There are times when she looks at me, pins me with those eyes, and she smiles and says something. It comes out as a coo, or sometimes a cry, but I hear her. And, somehow, I understand.
I know, I whisper to her. I hear you, little girl.
Because I do. Even though I don't know exactly what flits through that little - or not-so-little - mind of hers, I hear her sounds, her soothing and startling sounds, and somehow I am awash in awareness. I find myself nodding. And loving. And celebrating. Even though I am really really tired and struggling more than I'm willing to admit. Even though. Her voice is a gorgeous and gripping reminder of who I am now and who I once was and where I am now and how ridiculously lucky I am.
Voice. As a writer, it's of immense importance. As a person, it's of critical meaning.
And as a parent? It's something even more. Something more than I'm able to describe.
And so. Today, on this fine Monday in May, I'm here. Using words. Words I've collected. Words I've cobbled together in an imperfect effort.
To honor her and this, this brief but also brilliant time before words.
Do you ever stop to think about how many words we encounter each day - in our minds and in our lives? As a person or parent, are you in awe of the power and prevalence of language? Do you too think there is something compelling about the pre-language voice of little ones?