On Lily’s birthday every year we head outside once it’s dark and we let a balloon go. The four of us watch it drift up through the clouds and we remember Lily’s big (by 1 minute) twin sister. We talk about Abby sitting up there on her star and picture her waiting to pluck her birthday balloon from the sky. At Jackson’s request we also let a few balloons go this Christmas. He made Abby a Christmas decoration and wanted to attach it to her balloon. Thanks to my sister we have a beautiful photo of my husband and Lily watching the balloons soar up to the clouds.
Just before naptime this afternoon Lily was looking at this picture saying ‘Lily’, ‘Daddy’ and working on ‘balloons’. Shortly thereafter, as Lily was getting snuggled under her blankets I asked if she remembered Abby. She said ‘yeah’. I didn’t put a lot of stock in her response because it’s pretty typical for Lily to answer yes to any question that she doesn’t really understand. I asked if she missed Abby and she said ‘yeah, yeah’. Then paused and with a nod said a third more emphatic ‘yeah’. She shifted trying to get comfortable and I watched her wondering whether her answers were meaningful or just to appease me. Then she pointed to the ceiling and said ‘up up’. I told her there was no uppey, that it was naptime. She responded with a swift ‘no’ and brought her hands to my face making the sign for ‘star’. I smiled and said “Is Abby up on her star”. Lily smiled and said ‘mun’. “Lily, is she on her star by the moon?” “Yeah”.
Without Lily’s little hands being able to tell me what her mouth couldn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to see into her heart today. I would still be wondering if she knew who I meant when I asked about Abby. Lily may not yet understand that Abby was her sister and certainly doesn’t comprehend the reality that she will never know a whole other half of herself but today signing created another ‘wow’ moment for me.
Perhaps because she doesn’t have a lot of words yet I sometimes don’t give my wee 2 year old the credit she deserves for knowing all that she does. Today she was able to remind me with just one sign.