“And how many words does she have?”
“Two” I say. I’ve answered this question so many times in the last six months I can predict their response without hesitation.
“Two?” they’ll question.
“Yes. Two”. I’ll say confidently because I know, I am her mother.
Most don’t bother with asking what the two words are and all are comforted by my sequence of “Yes” responses to the questions that follow.
“Does she babble?”
“Does she follow simple instructions?”
“Does she make eye contact”
“Does she look to you for comfort”
Then referrals are made. Appointments are bumped up and follow-ups are scheduled.
I try not to worry. Sweet Pea is my third baby. With the first you worry about every cough, bump and concern and by the third you’ve taught yourself to take things a little more in stride.
As I see the possibilities running through the mind of whomever is interviewing us I know they are thinking words with many implications.
While I can only hope those words will never define my daughter -and I am almost certain they never will- I know they are there, in the minds of the “experts” unspoken until more appointments, more tests and more time.
“We will follow-up after her assessment” they tell me.
“We will monitor her progress” they attempt as comfort.
“Done and Mama” I say. Their response is to always look up, confused.
“In case you need to know, her words are Done and Mama”.
“Yes, thank you” they say as notes are scribbled.
Then I leave.
I take the long walk back to the van through hospital hallways and clinic waiting rooms carrying my over-tired child who has waited hours for a ten minute appointment.
I don’t let my mind wander. I don’t let the words left unspoken twist and turn in my head.
Instead, I focus on two words.
“Done” she says.
“Yes Sweet Pea, all done” I tell her as I snuggle my face into her neck and leave kisses behind on her cheek and on the top of her head.
When we get to the van and I strap her into the car seat I know just by looking at her that she is going to be asleep before we leave the parking lot. She reaches her hand up to my mouth and I kiss the palm of her hand. As her eyes slowly close she gives me one last big blue-eyed look.
“Mama” she says.
“Yes, Mama loves you” I say.
Right then at that moment I know that only two words matter.
The rest will come. I know they will.