Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We've Moved Back to Italy, But She Still Only Speaks Dutch

We were all sitting out on the back patio the other night. Ryan, Sharaya and Allison had come over for Easter dinner on Saturday and after we ate, we went outside to play ball and sit by the fire.

I had set up enough chairs for everyone and it wasn't until I saw the empty chair that I realized Beth hadn't been told what we were doing. I went downstairs to tell her we were outside and she should come join us. A few minutes later she came out, wearing only a bathrobe. That's what it looked like anyway. She really did have on some shorts and a t shirt, you just couldn't tell. I gave her a blanket to cover her legs.

Now, there was Chuck, me, Diana, Sharaya, Ryan, Beth and 16 month old Allison. We talked about Allie and how much she's changing and how much she's learning. We talked about friends and movies and the fire and.... it was such a great evening. One I'll remember for a long time. It was getting pretty dark so we decided to go in and watch a movie. Ryan and Sharaya had seen this movie and they thought we'd like it so we decided to go inside. Sharaya grabbed Allison, Chuck put away the chairs, we brought in the blankets.... and that's when I saw Beth.

She was just sitting in the chair. Just sitting there watching us. That's when I realized she hadn't said one word all evening. And it hit me like a ton of bricks, she didn't fit in that night. It kills me to write those words. To come to the realization that we didn't make a conscious effort to include her. We spoke at our usual pace. It was fast and animated. We laughed and joked. We talked about our lives, the ones we live.... in Italy. (To use the famous Welcome to Holland poem.)

And seeing Beth sitting there I realized, she still lives in Holland. We don't. When we had Sharaya we moved back to Italy.

Chuck, Sharaya, Diana, Ryan and I all live... in Italy. We speak Italian. We lead the flashy, fast paced lives. Beth doesn't. Her life is still slower paced. She only speaks Dutch. The rest of us are fluent in both languages.

But too often we don't use Dutch. We've been in Italy for so long now, thats the language and lifestyle we've adopted. We just go so fast (compared to her world) and... I hate to even write this, but we leave her behind. This just brings up so many emotions for me. I'm her mom, and I've realized what we've been doing all this time. It makes me feel sick to my stomach.

This happened on Saturday night and I don't think I will ever forget seeing her just sitting there. As we were cleaning up, she was watching us, like she was wondering what was going on. I wonder what parts of the conversation she grasped. What was she thinking that whole time?! The minute she understood what we were saying, did we move on to another subject? Did she spend that entire evening just trying to keep up??? Now I can't see the keyboard through my tears.


JC said...

I appreciate the honesty in this post. I feel there are so many things I can learn by reading the thoughts and feelings of Mothers who have raised a child with Ds. Thank you for sharing, even if it was hard to write.

patsy said...

thank you for your sweet comments when you come over to miss maggie....and thank you for sharing. i was in tears reading...i guess i just try to take it one day at a time but i definitely have days if i think about the future and the unknown and have to look to HIM to carry me through. and tell beth she looked beautiful in her 20's attire...and i, too, have days i would love to be 'sent to my room' :)

Wren said...

I love your honesty and little glimpses into the future! My family is very loud and the conversations are always fast paced and can be confusing...my husband didn't know who to listen to or what conversation to follow when we first started dating! LOL I sometimes worry that Sutter will be left out or confused, but I guess it's a bridge we'll have to cross when the time comes.

Alex's Mom said...

I love this post - so thoughtful and insightful..thanks for sharing

Michelle said...

I imagine this was hard to write and I wish I could give you a hug. I appreciate you sharing your heart - the good and the painful - it's a reminder to me to slow down with Kayla as well. Too often I'm impatient with her slowness, and I need to get that in check!