Every time I look at my son, a torrent of questions fill my heart. He can answer questions like what his name is and what his address is, but those are not the questions in my heart. He can answer ‘no’ or ‘yes’ (usually ‘no’ even if he might mean ‘yes’) to some questions about his wants and needs, but those are not the questions in my heart either.
Over the nine years of his life, the list of questions I’ve longed to ask him almost stretch to infinity. I stare into his eyes that rarely look back into mine, and I see multitudes upon multitudes – an entire cosmos I cannot yet reach.
I desperately want to know.
What do you love? What is in your daydreams? When you spend an hour with paper and crayons, what do you feel in your heart? Do you dream about the future? What do you see? When you see this particular girl in your class, does something begin to stir within you? What do you wish you could say to her? How do you feel when we are gone and someone else is home with you?
My dear heart, are you happy?
When you are afraid, what gives you comfort? When the order of things is broken, what does this feel like to you? When you sit and stare, you look so thoughtful. What do you see? As you sleep, what do you dream about? Do you have nightmares? Peaceful dreams? I cannot tell.
When you see me or Mommy or your brother, what do you feel? Do you know how much you are loved and treasured? Do you know how much your whole family and all your teachers care about you and cheer for you?
Do you know how much joy we feel when you overcome a challenge that you’ve worked so hard at? Do you know how proud we are of you? Do you know how much we love you and how proud we are of you no matter what?
When you script words on your talker or out loud, what do they mean to you? When you discover new words and share them with us, do you know how exciting and wonderful this is? We get to witness you discover a new treasure and share it with the world. How many more words and thoughts and dreams are inside you waiting for their time to finally shine?
What do you dream about doing with your life? When you are in pain, what does it feel like inside you? Does the world feel too threatening and scary? How can I walk with you through this and carry some of your burden for you?
I can see frustration in your eyes. When you try so hard but cannot do something, what do you feel? Do you judge yourself? Are you angry? Do you feel hopeless? Determined? Tired? Dejected? Do your body and mind feel out of control? Are you angry that you want to do something but your own body prevents you?
There is so much I do not know. There is so much you cannot yet tell me. I know this is very, very hard. As much as it is for me, it must certainly be many times harder for you. We continue our search for the keys that will help you open the doors to all the language, ideas, thoughts, and dreams inside you.
I know how far you have come. I am so, so very proud of you. And I know so much more is waiting for us to discover. Some things will take years or a lifetime, or maybe they won’t come at all, but to me that’s not the most important thing.
We get to take that journey together, and that’s the answer to every question that matters most to me.