We keep (and are raising) a three year old here at the Fat Beggars Home for Widows, Orphans, and Sojourners. Like pretty much all the kids who live (or pass through) here, she struggles to overcome developmental, social, and academic delays. As such, she does not, as yet, speak in complete sentences – certainly not elaborate ones. Rarely more than word pairs. However, she can and does sometimes sing a whole verse or two of a song.
Despite her limitations, she strikes me as very smart. She is quite expressive. Even if we must remind her to use her “big words” several times in even short exchanges, she seems to be a modern woman in the making. She mysteriously conveys the idea that she knows what she wants and how to get it. (Her secret agent name is Secret Agent Sassafras or “SAS”.) We are remote learning/home schooling during the pandemic, which exacerbates delays, I think (but of course helps ensure these kids will not go back into the system due to their parents’ premature demise).
Did I mention we face challenges?
We went out for a country drive a few weeks ago.
The “South Plains” area of West Texas are divided by a “caprock.” Lubbock is up “on the caprock.” This means we live in some of the flattest, God-forsaken country on Earth.
I grew up in Texas (some), but I have roots in Colorado too. Living in Lubbock is painful. I think this is true for everyone, but the locals are kinda nuts about being in and from Texas, so there seems to be this denial and blindspot which sorta impacts the whole field of vision. When I first moved here, an old timer told me, “Lubbock is so flat, you can watch your dog run away from home FOR THREE DAYS!”
I think I peed myself a little when he said that.
With all that as the backdrop, go with me on our little road trip in your mind.
We have the family truxter loaded up with little children, most of them dealing with delays. All but one in diapers. (Yes, that “smell from the back seat” and all….)
Mrs. Agent X and I riding up front and talking. Every now and again some cry or complaint issues from the back seat. The miles and miles blowing by with nary a change in the scenery having me feeling numb. The highway stretching out long, flat, and straight. If it weren’t for the curvature of the Earth and atmospheric conditions, we could see Colorado in our rearview mirror and Oklahoma in front of us.
(Suddenly, I am thinking of that rock band from the 90s called Soul Grind and thinking, I know where they got that name!)
Finally, almost like a surprise, the highway takes s sudden drop. Not a massive descent at all, but dramatic and sudden, and from the top of it, you can see a grand vista stretching out in all directions except behind you, and it’s like taking in a deep breath of fresh air.
Just then, the change of scenery before us is met with a bold exclamation from the back of the car: IT’S AMAZING!
Mrs. Agent X and I were both startled by it. Quite alarming! Perfect timing, and the perfect word for the moment.
I am sure I taught her the word, however, I don’t know when she used it before.
I know that I would shout such exclamation when the kids and I would sit and watch YouTube videos showing various heavy equipment and work trucks. I was celebrating the four year old and his interest in trucks, really. I mean, the videos are cool, but the kid has my heart. Right?
But I think we passed through that phase about three or four months back. We don’t watch those videos much anymore.
We do sing Amazing Grace with some frequency. But her exclamation wasn’t really like the song.
However, our joy and reaction to her exclamation at just that point (we gave her loads of feedback immediately, and we tell all the family and friends about it (usually in her hearing)) seems to have cemented the word “amazing” in her vocabulary now. And, yes, she walks around singing the song.
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…”
How sweet the sound!
Yes it is.