Thursday, October 2, 2008

First "I Love You"

Until very recently, Elli would never use words to communicate. She would copy words, even phrases, that we said, but would never use them on her own. Unless you are a mother who has with a child like this, I think it would be hard to grasp the emotions that go with having a child who cannot see and cannot talk. It is humbling and heartwrenching-- wanting so much to get inside their little heads and know what they are thinking. Wanting to turn the light on for them-- not even just physically, but cognitively. Wanting the world for them when they can't even tell you they are hungry or thirsty. Well, the past few weeks have brought some major breakthroughs for her-- she has spontaneously said a few things-- like "night night" when her head hit the pillow, "downstairs" as we start walking down the stairs, and of course her daily "OATMEAL!" when I first walk in her room in the morning. These few words have been AMAZING to us-- true miracles. We are so excited that she is learning that words have meaning and that she can use them to communicate. It is pure joy to hear her talk.

Today the absolute sweetest thing in the world happened. I had just picked the kids up from school and driven them home. Parker, who has always loved Elli in a very special and perfect way, was hugging and talking to her as she was waiting for me to get her out of the carseat. I came to the side of the van and said, "Oh, Elli-- did you miss your Parker?" She giggled as he hugged her and then said, clear as a bell, "I love you."

I couldn't believe it. Parker about flipped out with joy. I was so glad that there were two of us there to witness that she really did say it! I thought it very fitting that her first "I love you" was to the best example of unconditional love toward her that I know. Parker plays and loves on Elli in a way that is sweet beyond description. I will never forget the words he said to me just a few days after Elli was brought home from China: "Mom, if you could catch blindness, I would still want Elli." Pure love.

Another sweet thing happened with Elli on Sunday. It was the annual primary program at church. This is where, following the Sacrament, the children of the congregation put on the rest of the program. It is always a beautiful program with music and sweet testimony. This year's theme was "I Am a Child of God." The program began with 6 children standing up one by one and saying "I am a child of God." After the third child, Elli's voice spontaneously rang out with a very loud "I am a child of God!" It wasn't spoken perfectly, but everyone heard it and understood her and it brought many tears to the congregation. The children then sang, "I Am a Child of God," with the first verse in English, the second in Spanish, and the third in Mandarin. Our family was asked to sing the third chorus by ourselves. It was so neat to be able to stand there with our children, singing in the first language of Elli and Graci. Jessica held a picture of Graci since she wasn't able to be there (due to the heart surgery). Such a special day.

Yes, Elli, you are a child of God. And if He had favorites, you would be one of them!

By the way, the first time I heard this song playing, my heart nearly burst for the beautiful message in it's first phrase. I know it is true!!!