telling kids (and moms) the truth
“something is wrong with my voice.”
every once in a while mazzy will ask her dad or i this question.
“what’s wrong with my voice?”
and we know what she means.
she means that she loves to sing, but when she opens her mouth it doesn’t sound the same as the songs she adores. she means that she watches her brother and sister walk up on stages and sing from their hearts, but she sits in the seats and watches.
she means this – what is wrong with me?
when mazzy was six months old we started working with a communication specialist.
he’d spent his career working with kids with disabilities and their parents with the strongly held conviction that nothing was wrong with these kids. he taught their parents how to slow down long enough to get into their children’s worlds.
i remember the first time he said it to me.
“there is nothing wrong with mazzy.”
he said it and he knew i didn’t believe it.
he said those words and something in me broke. it was my heart. and it broke because of how blind i was, how wrong.
but it’s a funny thing about broken hearts – they get softer afterwards. my heart before those words was hardened against people who had down syndrome, even my own flesh and blood. i needed words strong enough to break a stone heart. and we all know what kind of words do that.
so when mazzy asks us what is wrong with her voice, we always tell her the truth.
“nothing mazzy. nothing is wrong with your voice. you have a beautiful voice! i love to hear your voice!”
and she looks at us hopeful, wondering if we are telling the truth.
we look right back into her lovely face without deceit and let her know that yes, we’re telling the truth – there is no flaw in you.
today is world down syndrome day – take a minute and watch the video below. it’s so worth your time.