Late this afternoon I sat in the floor reading a book to Ashley Kate. Dave was working in the recliner and Ash was snuggled up on my lap. I flipped pages and signed the words of the pictures she was pointing to over and over again. Then I began to sign "momma" to her over and over again. I would say "Momma reads the book" and sign "Momma, momma, momma". She was getting tickled by the whole thing. A little smile would cross her face and she would snuggle her head onto my shoulder. I just kept taking her hand and signing the word. I would say it to her as I signed. Then I began to say to her, "You say it and I'll sign it." We did this for a few minutes and then I heard a whisper. Her voice was the softest and quietest sound I think I have ever heard. It was so beautiful. The whisper of her voice took us by surprise. We hadn't heard from her in so, so long. Tiny and sweet that whisper stole my heart and has had it captivated ever since. I can't stop thinking of how it sounded. Of how she sounded. I didn't dream this. I didn't imagine it. Although I have dreamt and imagined hearing her say it just one more time more times than I can count. I know this really happened because as she whispered the word "momma" I looked up at the same time Dave turned to look at us and the surprise that was on his face I'm sure was a mirror image of mine.
"Did you hear it?" "She said it, didn't she?" I asked him again and again. He nodded and assured me that he heard her say it too.
"Momma, momma, momma."
I heard it three times then she snuggled into my shoulder again and it was gone. I tried over and over again to get her to repeat it even just one more time, but she was done. Only a whisper. Thats all she had to share, but I can't even express to you what that whisper shared with my heart. She is in there. I mean her voice is in there. It is. She remembers. She does. I don't know how to help her find it again. I wish I knew a way to make it easy for her, but I don't. So I will just continue to be patient, to ask, to try and teach, to pray and to hope with all that I have that her whisper will be heard by our ears again. Then again. Then again. Then again.
Oh, how I have missed hearing her say my name. I long to talk with Ashley Kate. To listen to her share what's on her mind and her heart. I dream of her chattering in the back seat. I try and imagine what it might sound like to her her tiny voice sing Jesus loves me or the ABCs.
Today we were blessed. Such a tiny voice, for just a moment, but a memory that will last a lifetime. I am so grateful.