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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)

TITLE: Speechless Significance
By Kristi Peifer


You scramble up on my lap and try to get my attention. With that mischievous glint in your big blue eyes, you place your palms on my cheeks and turn my face toward you.

“Hey, Buddy!” I say. “What’s up?”

You grin and reply, “BebebeBAYuh.”

“Oh yeah? Are you telling me a story? What else?”

You take my hand, look me straight in the eye, and slam my hand into your chest.

“Oh, you want something. What is it?”

Again, you ram my hand into your rib cage.

“Are you hungry?”

Your little face lights up as I recognize your need.

“What do you want, son? Use your signs!”

Slam! My hand meets your chest once more.

I take your hand and mold it into the sign for “eat.” You promptly stuff your sign up to my mouth.

“No, you do it,” I correct.

Impatiently, you sign it, this time using your own face.

“Good job!”

You tug at my arm, as if to stress the urgency of your appointment with the refrigerator.

We pad off to the kitchen. You open the fridge and point to the juice.

“Oh, so you were thirsty!”

I pour your juice, lost in my own thoughts.

Oh my dear Andrew, how I long for the day when you will be able to tell me what is on your mind! The thought of you one day saying, “I love you, Mama,” is almost more than I can bear sometimes.

Autism has stolen your speech, but not your smarts. Every day I see the wheels turning inside your head, plotting your next adventure. As someone once said, just because you have no words doesn’t mean you have nothing to say. You just find a different way to say it.

I worry about your future. Will you ever be able to confess Jesus as your Savior out loud? Do you even understand our faith?

Sometimes I selfishly ask God to heal you—that this affliction would go away and you could lead a “normal” life. Other times, I marvel at how your disability draws other people to you and brings them joy. I realize that sometimes God chooses not to heal—and His reasoning is perfect. The apostle Paul served despite his infirmity, and he was used mightily by God! Maybe God has something like that in store for you, too. I just don’t know.

I hand you your cup, and you drink from it with gusto.

God, I don’t always understand Your will, but I will trust You.

You hand me your cup, finished with your juice. Satisfied, you say, “maEEEoh,” in that high-pitched squeal that you use when you are happy. You press your unpuckered lips to mine and plant soft, innocent little boy kisses.

These are your words, and they are precious.

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This article has been read 545 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lollie Hofer10/21/10
What a strong statement - "...just because you have no words doesn't mean you don't have something to say." (may not be exact quote but close) This is a sweet story between momma and son. In his own dear way, he did say, "I love you." Well done.
Jeanne E Webster 10/21/10
I might ask, "How is your day?" Now I know! How precious is the exchange between you and your Andy, then the rebound to God. That makes three! Wonderful story, well presented. Blessings :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/21/10
This is an endearing story of a mother and son and their love. You did a great job. Autism isn't something everyone can understand but your story will go a long way in educating others. Nice job!
Kate Oliver Webb 10/24/10
So beautifully done! Very descriptive; the words were absolutely artistic. You took me right there into those rooms where love lives. Thank you.
Sarah Heywood10/25/10
Beautiful! I know that you understand that I understand this all too well. Autism is a curse, but the older my Ben gets, the more I see some of the blessings of it, too. Remember, my dear friend, that Andrew's autism has more to do with God's plan for YOUR life than his. God makes no mistakes. But yet, I identify with your hurt all to well. I was just telling a friend last night that one thing I am anticipating about Heaven is seeing Ben run from one end to the other w/o falling and for the first time, being able to hold a deep conversation with him, where his eyes aren't darting every place but my direction and I get more than a terse, "yes" or "no" respsonse. I think you and I are going to be two very happy mamas when we cross the Great Divide!

Good writing - you expressed your mother's heart so well here.
Genia Gilbert10/25/10
This is so real and touching. God must give such mothers "special ears" to hear this speechless significance. Great writing.
Jan Ackerson 10/26/10
Straight from a mother's heart, and whether fiction or not, it captures the mother's emotional turmoil beautifully.

I wondered about this sentence:

Slam! My hand meets your chest once more.

Were the pronouns mixed up? And the first half had a very choppy pace, with its very short paragraphs. Not sure if that was intentional.

I could definitely picture this whole scene, and my heart went out to both characters. Excellent.

Loren T. Lowery10/27/10
This is so touching and tender a window into a mother's heart. Your words speak volumes of love and acceptance and yes, joy in our infirmities.
Colin Swann10/27/10
Very interesting take on the topic. Communicating when communicating if almost impossible. Thanks for helping us understand the difficulties in such circumstances.