Thursday, January 19, 2017
He never even had a chance to cry. Merrick never made a single sound besides his gasps for air. He never grunted or cooed and he certainly never cried. I never heard my son’s voice and that saddens me. I can’t even imagine a voice for him; which is confusing and frustrating. I’ve been thinking about it a lot this week. It’s such a small thing that is strikingly poignant. He was my silent baby.
Witnessing Pierson’s speech development has been amazing and at times bittersweet these last few weeks. It seems only yesterday we were discussing his speech development with his teacher wondering when he would bridge that gap and start really talking. And now he’s spitting out short sentences like he just graduated from Toddler Toastmasters. He kills me with his facial expressions too. I love it when he tilts his head down and looks at me sarcastically out of the corner of his eye. I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to listen and watch Merrick as he learned to communicate with us. Would his first word have been mama or dada or maybe even some version of Pierson? Maybe he would have called him Person instead of Pierson like our friends’ children, Nolan and Evan, do. Mostly I wish I could hear him giggle and say, “I love you, mama.”
Even though I can’t imagine what his voice would sound like, I can visualize him and Pierson whispering conspiratorially in one of their bedrooms, plotting a 6:00 a.m. invasion of the parental’s bedroom on a Saturday morning demanding French toast. In these “visions” he doesn’t really have a defined face or body but instead a blurry little figure glowing the color of an old school, 60 watt, incandescent, light bulb. I’m a little disappointed in myself for not coming up with a more imaginative picture of him. Maybe if I were an artist it would be different. I can’t draw to save my life, let alone imagine what my son would look like as a toddler. That’s funny and sad at the same time.
A lot of things are like that these days. It’s a full time job keeping the sadness at bay. When I find myself staring at the wall lost in a Groundhog’s Day remembrance of Merrick’s short life, I steer my thoughts to something positive. Lately that has been thoughts of Bell Gardens, the wedding venue farm that my sisters and I have been dreaming about for years. We are planning to name a garden or a building after Merrick. The thought of that makes me smile. Maybe someday I’ll be staring off into the gardens and imagine my sweet little lightbulb dude out there chasing butterflies. Who knows, I may have even imagined a voice for him by then and that is a pleasant thought indeed.