I had an interesting experience.
We are on a home-hunt right now.
My husband and I spent some serious energy praying about what to do with where we should move.
We even went to the temple, which to us is one of the holiest places on earth.
And I got some answers to my questions.
But they were answers to questions I didn't even know I was asking.
Questions that had nothing to do with our home-hunt.
A DIFFERENT ANSWER
1) As a parent, when you hear "speech delay"...or any other problem for that matter, you worry about your child's entire life. You can't help but wonder about the future: How will this affect him in school? Will he regress again? Will he be able to read and write well? Will he have to be put on an IEP? Will he be pulled out of the classroom? Will he struggle? You just stress out about everything you cannot control. The worst part about what-ifs is that they really are just "what ifs". The only certainties are the ones that are here and now. The problem with what-ifs is that they can steal away the present if you let them. It's tricky because you have to quit caring about the what-ifs so that you can enjoy the present, but at the same time, as a parent, you feel a responsibility to be proactive in the present in order to avoid the worst case scenario of what-ifs. The struggle can make you go crazy, but then you remember to be grateful for the struggle, because that's what life is all about - overcoming challenges, having faith in the Lord, doing our best and knowing that the Lord's grace will make up the rest.
Even though I was praying about our decision to move, these other concerns were on the back of my mind, and they were the ones I got answers to. The impression I had came very strongly: You have talents, but he does, too - they are DIFFERENT talents than you have, but you will teach him, and he will teach you.
That might sound like a really easy principle to understand...almost like a common sense sort of impression, but it came to me specifically when I was asking God about other things, so it's stayed with me and I've been pondering it ever since.
I have talents in communication - just ask my husband - I communicate everything I ever hope to say in a clear and effective manner. (Okay, Honey, you can quit rolling on the floor laughing). In all seriousness, though, I have always enjoyed reading & writing and it's blessed my life. I also have experience with Sign Language, so it's been easy for me to teach Miles signs without feeling overwhelmed. Because communication is one of my talents, it's important to me, and that's why I've worried so much about Miles & his success in this area. But now I'm looking at all of this differently and now I'm wondering what are the things that he will be teaching me. I've already found a couple.
MILES HAS SPIRITUAL TALENTS
2) One of the sweetest prayers I've ever heard was given by Miles. At that point he hadn't been doing very well at repeating words, or imitating sounds, but we had a family night and he wanted to give the prayer. So Mitch helped him:
"Heavenly Father" (Mitch)
"For this day...."
.....the prayer continued in this fashion until the end, and Miles tried to say Amen at the end.
In that moment I didn't care that he couldn't say any of the words, because I could FEEL what was in his heart, and it was SO SWEET. Here I had a darling 2 year old with big eyes, folding his arms, and he was so happy to help with the prayer - he has the DESIRE to participate in higher things. What more could a mother ask for?
It's in moments like these that I know the reasons we are told in the scriptures to be as the little children.
3) On Saturday, May 17th, we attended the funeral of Mettie Skye Tingey. She was only 26 days old when she passed away. Mettie is Miles' 2nd cousin. We bought our mini van from her parents, Matt & Rochelle just a couple years ago when they were having their 6th kid (at that time we had had our 3rd kid and needed something bigger than a compact car, and they needed something bigger than a mini-van - we found their post on Craigslist, but didn't realize it was Matt, as in Matt-Mitch's-COUSIN, until we saw him in person. It was actually a fun experience to buy their van, and we were sold on the spot - we knew they were honest about the history, it was in our price range, and they kept it in great condition). We look up to Matt & Rochelle & were excited for them to have another baby, and were heartbroken to hear about all of Mettie's health struggles.
Mettie was their 7th child. She was born this Spring, and she was going to be the tie-breaker for their family. The had 3 boys and 3 girls, so they didn't find out her gender until she was born. They didn't know until she was born, that she would have physical and mental handicaps. They did EVERYTHING possible to help her live as long as she could, but sweet little Mettie just wasn't able to make it longer than 26 days. Rochelle made a blog about Mettie. It's a must read - their family is a pillar of faith and hope and the joy they found amid the pain is sweeter than words can tell: www.sweetmettie.blogspot.com .
In the days leading up to the funeral, I was showing my mom Mettie's blog, and Miles got really excited. He had never seen pictures of Mettie before, but when he saw the pictures on the screen, he ran across the room, crawled on my lap, and would point at the screen. He started repeating the things I was saying, and he tried over and over to say her name, "Meh! Meh! Meh!" He got really excited when he saw her picture. He seemed to be most excited on the pictures of her in the hospital.
I felt as if he knew her from before this life began. The feeling in the room as he was expressing his excitement, especially with the pictures of her hooked up to machines and having a rough time made me feel almost like he knew that's how her life would be like, and that he was excited she was able to fulfill her mission on earth and be with her family. I felt the Spirit really strong, and I asked him, "Why are you trying to say everything I'm saying? Do you know her? Is she your friend?" And he tried to say, "Friend".
I was just amazed. He hasn't ever acted the same way with baby pictures of other babies, and it made me wonder, "Wow! Who is this special little girl, Mettie?" and "Wow! Who is my little boy, Miles, that he would remember her, and feel this way?"
As if that moment in time wasn't proof enough, Miles did the same thing when we walked in the doors of the funeral service and saw the table display of all Mettie's beautiful pictures. He pointed and again said, "Meh!" "Meh!" for Mettie. Then when we hugged her family and said good-bye to Mettie - she looked so perfect in her white dress - kind of like a porcelain doll - just so perfect. She was wearing a bracelet with a heart on it, and in the heart was a picture of her family. Miles looked at her and signed, "Sleeping".
Through all of these experiences...while many things in my life are so uncertain, there are other things that I am beginning to see so clearly. I know that I am the one who is learning.
As much as I know and hope to teach my children throughout the years, I am learning that they are here to teach me, too. I believe that while children are young like Miles, that they have memories of Heaven. I believe that because so quickly they can recognize the feelings of Heaven when it's around them. I believe that's a spiritual talent and by watching my kids in these precious years of innocence, and especially the way my life has been affected in the last couple of years with my sweet little Miles, through those experiences I have felt closer to my Heavenly Father, and I know that children are a blessing straight from Heaven. Without a doubt, one of Mettie's purposes on earth was the same, and she did it in a powerful way. She knew her job was to help her family and those around her feel closer to Heaven - she fulfilled her mission with such grace and beauty. The story of her family and how they love Mettie is a tale of hope and faith, courage and endurance, and pure, unconditional, Christ-like love. Now it's up to us to develop those talents so that someday we can go where she is with the angels in Heaven.