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Where the Words Hide

The child who builds cities and roadways with his hands. Roadways that loop down our stairway with train tracks that balance on blocks and wind through the patch of pumpkins below the counter we haven’t carved. And whose buildings teeter scrupulously, in full color and imagined function. Who has turned our hallway into a speedway. A church. A library. And whose fingertips, wrung with curiosity, keep shaping and forming until he scoots back satisfied.

Is the same child who wants to know, “does the government love Jesus?”

And yet this one, the one for whom my heart beats extra, grips his beginner reading book and counts the pages to freedom.


They do not stick. The words.

The words he has sounded out between his lips for two years. Words like “c-a-t” and “s-a-t.” And “d-o-g” and “s-i-t.” Words that rhyme with each other. Words that repeat themselves on the same page.

His memory of reading begins anew. Each day. For the words are not there. Cannot be found. Or called upon.

And so we struggle through them. These words. He in my lap, my lips at his ear, my brain biting back the flow of words I want to read for him. We give sound to each painful letter. “The ssss–uhhh–nnnn  (sun) is huu–aww–ttt (hot).  And we do them again on the next page. Only the struggle is the same. The effort, too. Because already, they are gone. Scattered like leaves from our backyard to another.

He crushes his city between his hands and it topples. Clatters.

Blocks blitz. Track tangles.

And I watch as the one who does not know where the words go, watch as he organizes each piece into its proper bucket.

Each piece. At home.

And I whisper, to myself–for myself, “we’ll find them, honey. We’ll find where your words are hiding.”

For it is all I know to pray. Today. In this moment.


4 Responses to “Where the Words Hide”

  1. Linda H says:

    I feel bad for him and you. I know the pain of not being able to find the words. I store them away very well but recalling is not so easy. He’ll get it in his own time. He is very bright. He has amazed me many times with knowledge and skill beyond his years. He’ll get it with the love and help from you and the family.

  2. kristi says:

    i am severely dyslexic. I was never told that the doctors were sure I would never go to college. I have a masters today. My childhood was tough. I had to go to special classes. I remember feeling stupid. Eventually, my brain found ways to cope; Ways that are different than others, these ways make me see the world and information differently, even today. That was a gift. Sometimes I see solutions others don’t, because I see it differently. I have no idea where the words go. I only know I still don’t know my left from my right. I have not found where that went, still hiding. Don’t give up. I didn’t. It was not fun. But God gives us gifts, others don’t have, will never had, because they didn’t have to be so determined.

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