Wednesday, September 2, 2015

'Round the Dinner Table

When my mind drifts back to my childhood, I can’t help but think about the experiences provided for me that I want for my boys.

Evening bike rides illuminated by the setting of the sun.

Puppy dog baths that turned into an outside sudsfest for all.

Sunday mornings spent worshipping.
Sunday afternoons spent breathing it all in – the aroma of lunch wafting through the air, the smell of all things child – sweat, dirt, cookies pilfered before dinner, and the tiniest of hint of baby soap lingering from the previous night’s bubbles, the heavy perfume from the nursery worker who couldn’t resist baby snuggles.
Sunday evenings spent sipping hot chocolate around a campfire as we try to squeeze the last few remnants out of the beloved weekend.

Warm cookies at the end of the school day.

Bedtime prayers and bedtime stories and bedtime giggles that always worked to delay the inevitable bedtime.

Dinners ‘round the table.


No matter the meal, no matter the day, no matter the schedule, our dinners were spent ‘round the table.

My mom was quite the cook; but it’s not the food I remember. I can recall only a few meals; but I can name every person who graced our table over the years.
The people, not the food, made the meal.
Made the memories.

We talked of playground crushes and mastered multiplication facts. We planned adventures. We schemed neighborhood scavenger hunts and slipping notes and sweet treats to our favorite teachers.

We talked about anything.
We talked about nothing.

We talked about everything.

And now, our little family of four does the same. Brian in his seat, me in mine. Baker situated strategically between the two, and Barrett perched happily on the table top. All together.

Dinner is carried to the table, where each serves their plate. Heads are bowed, four eyes are closed (Baker keeps his opened slightly to make sure no one takes his food and Barrett refuses to miss a thing). Prayers are uttered, and a collective amen is whispered.

Sweet tea is poured. Forks are drawn. No morsel is safe.
And then my favorite part, conversation.
The worries of the day are drowned in the chorus of our voices.

It looks slightly different than it looked in my childhood home. Two children instead of three. A table of four instead of a table of five.

It sounds different, too.

The sounds of Barrett cooing and ahhing sprinkle the air and add more flavor to our table than even the tastiest of seasonings.

Baker has begun to contribute to the conversation, adding emphasis and nodding along. Part of Down Syndrome means his speech is delayed and he has to work harder to make his mouth say what his brain thinks. In his own language, Baker tells about his day. My heart swells. In words mostly undiscernible words, he talks.

I can imagine he’s telling us how Harper’s mommy sent cheese puffs while his sent some measly veggie straws. I am convinced he’s reciting the song they sang at music and the instruments he got to play. From the smile on his face and the joy in his voice, I’m quite certain he was the class leader today. I bet he got to peek out the window and give the weather report, lead the days of the week song, and even clean up after play time. He gets uncharacteristically quiet and I imagine he’s reflecting on his day, deciding what detail to divulge next. He nods emphatically, his face growing increasingly more animated. He begins again. His words powdering the room. I listen intently, study his signs, desperate for a clue as to what he’s telling so excitedly. My heart, equally thrilled at how eagerly he communicates and so broken and torn that a barrier as vast as the Great Wall stands between me and my baby boy.

How desperately I long for the day I can understand his every word. The day I can celebrate along when he tells us something good. The day I can heal his hurt when he tells of something gone awry. The day I can praise him for successes at school.

Sitting ‘round the dinner table with Baker, the Lord has taught me many things.

The greatest,
we speak with more than mere words

In all the words, in all my life, I have not been able to say what Baker has said in his.

His mouth, his body, his being, his heart all speak love, joy, strength, and hope.

What a privilege to be Baker’s mother. In every way, it is a blessing to be his mother.

My prayer tonight,

Lord Jesus, give me eyes to see and ears to hear. God, in your infinite power, strengthen Baker's muscles so that the words flow articulately. You are bigger than hypotonia. You are greater than a disability.

I trust your timing; for while we wait, we grow. 

Your plan is perfect.

You are faithful and your promises are true. 

Thank you for making Baker so wonderfully. For forming Him in your image.

I pray that you cover him with grace so abundant for him to lavish freely on us as we learn to communicate with one another in a language of love.

You are not the author of worry. You are not the creator of doubt.

I trust you are using this also for your good. So we wait. We celebrate strides made along the way. We glorify you alone for how you are moving in our son. How you are growing our family to look only to you for wisdom.

Lord Jesus, you are good. Your mercies are new every morning. Thank you the privilege to be a mother. Even more, thank you for the honor of being Baker's mother. I am so unworthy, but eternally grateful you trusted one of your most precious to me.

In your most faithful name I pray.


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