It came out of the blue, without warning.
"Mommy," Lola said recently. "How come Millie is the only kid in her class who can't talk? Even the babies younger than her talk. But Millie is the only one who can't."
I was unprepared for this.
Millie was eating next to me, Ray across the room. He looked at me silently while I paused to consider the response.
"You know what Lola," I said carefully, watching both girls. "I'm more than happy to talk to you about that. We can sit and talk about this together. But why don't we wait until Millie is asleep?"
It wasn't to stall - OK it wasn't completely to stall - but I didn't want to talk about it in front of Millie.
Lola nodded, and moved on to another topic.
Last night, after gymnastics, I took her into her bedroom, sat on the floor and asked her if she wanted to talk about the question she asked earlier. She nodded.
"Do you remember what you asked me?" I started.
She paused, looked down at the floor and kicked at something random, apparently afraid that she was in trouble. I quickly told her that she was not in trouble, that it was never wrong to ask questions, but people can always choose to not answer them (it's the reporter in me).
In this case, I said, she was completely right to be "confused" (her words) and that Mommy and Daddy are always here to talk things out for her.
And thus began an incredibly draining 15-minute conversation. It involved a lot of me talking about how people have things they are really good at and that we all have areas where we need more practice. We talked about how everyone is different that is a really, really good thing.
As we got closer toward wrapping up, Lola looked and me and grinned, "Wouldn't it be funny if Millie woke up tomorrow and started talking lots and lots?"
"What would you do?" she asked.
I told her that I we would all stay home from school and work and we would all sit on the couch and just talk to each all day long, to hear about the silly things that Millie wants to talk about but hasn't yet figured out how to do so.
Lola got a little sad, "I don't think that will happen though. I don't think that will happen ever ever never."
And that was the only moment where I came a wee bit close to losing my composure... But I didn't. And I talked - some more - about how Mommy and Daddy have every faith that Millie will talk. Maybe not lots and lots and lots right away. But hopefully someday... But even if she doesn't, that's OK too, that we'll figure out other ways - through signing, her talker, etc., whatever works - so she can communicate with us.
"Mommy," she said abruptly. "Can I sing you a song now?"
And then she serenaded me in French.
- Bethany :)