Once upon a time, a girl with equator in her blood found herself in a family that looked and spoke differently than her. She was tiny, so she mourned her lost country without words. She quickly grasped the new language and peered at her world with the absolute understanding that comes from An Old Soul Who Knows Things.
She grew into toddlerhood and her tongue loosened. Never content to speak her words unless she could say them perfectly, she would often prefer to nod or shake her head than utter one syllable out of place. But then, her urge to sing would overtake her and she’d spin in circles in the living room, singing at the top of her lungs.
Not many people saw this side of her, but her parents delighted in every note and treasured her song. They knew the loss that song had overcome to be heard.
Full sentences began to pour from the girl. Each tiny sound spoken was clearly shaped.
But sometimes the words didn’t come. Sometimes she clamped her lips tight and refused to speak over a murmur. Her smile disappeared and she resorted to nods. Her parents were sad and encouraged the use of “big girl voice for those big girl words.”
And slowly…. in her own time…. her voice grew stronger.
Only sometimes she was still too shy to use it.
But her songs came more often, her joyful abandon overtook her with more frequency.
And then, one day when her confidence was soaring high after a successful morning in big girl underwear, she looked up at her Mommy and said,
Imma tell you a story. Once uponna ti-yem, I got in my bed by myseff and Willa say, ‘How you do that, Mee-wah?’
And maybe that set of sentences strung together doesn’t mean anything to you. But to her mommy, who knows the value of a good story, they are more precious than gold. They are the words of a little girl who has flung her heart wide open to her people and has a decided she’s ready to start telling her stories to the world.
And we are oh so ready to listen…