Thursday, August 03, 2006

Parents' words

All my adult life I have loved words. I find patterns in them, relish shaping them, look up meanings and enjoy hearing them spoken. There are some things I never thought I would say, let alone write. Ben has changed all that.

The first time he spoke to me, before he was born, I sat outside the examining room while his birth mom felt the jelly and the fetal monitor. Then, over the speakers I heard it: a thready and rapid buff, buff, buff. It's the only time I can remember that I had no words at all: I couldn't think, I couldn't speak. I wept profuse, embarassing tears, there on my orange plastic and aluminum chair in a clinic full to bursting with tiny hearts beating just below big hearts.

Soon after Ben was born, a friend handed me these words, carefully printed in her hand, black ink on a white square: "Never doubt for a moment, my son, that you were born in my heart, not below it." The peculiar pride of an adoptive parent.

Parenting brings unimagined combinations of words to my heart and lips. Sometimes, I distinctly hear my own mother in the words I say. Sometimes, the words are uniquely Ben inspired. Very often, I find myself thinking, "I can't believe that sentence just came out of my mouth."

Ben Talk

Do not put your fork on the cat.
No shoes in the toilet.
Rubber Ducky goes potty here.
I love you more than anything.

Do not hit your mamma, ever.
Did you say no to me?
Your rake stays outside.
You are my handsome son.

Say “yes, beautiful Mamma.”
No sticks in your mouth, please.
Use your words.
Tell Grandma you love her!

Stop poking my fat roll.
Not on the wall!
You got up there, you can get down.
Say goodnight to the moon.

Get back to bed, it’s too early.
Lie down with your bear and train.
Don’t hurt the spider.
I am so glad you came along.

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