Monday, July 1, 2013

Love Trumps

Sometimes, I really feel like blogging mirrors my sugar addiction. There I was on email, connecting quickly with a friend, when I heard myself think: I wonder how the blog is doing? Worded differently, I wonder if we're on the upswing? I don't know for sure if i'm more tempted to write on the down-swing or the up, but either way, I couldn't stay away from a post. It was like having ice cream in the freezer after an overwhelming evening: too tempting.

It might not be so alluring if I hadn't had this amazing love fest with Kaya tonight during bed time--clear fodder for a long-overdue blog post. It was one of those moments that gets immediately filed in that happy place, one that you're sure will be with you forever.

Geoff was just starting in on the guitar, singing her some lullabies as one of both of us does every night. She and I were lying on her loft bed, next to one another under the covers. After we got her all situated--including getting cream and benadryl for this awfully itchy rash on her back and tucking snuggle-monkey into the crook of her neck--she nestled into the covers and grabbed my hand. For a few minutes, she'd be on her left, only to roll quickly on to her right--where we'd then be facing each other. Within a few minutes, her fidgeting slowed and she started staring at me. But it wasn't just any stare. It was this look, a deep penetrating connection, through the biggest smile I've ever seen on anyone's face. Ever. She just smiled. And stared. And when I thought her smile couldn't get any bigger, it did. Along with mine. We just stared. And smiled. And laughed, at times, when the smile could no longer contain our joy.

As I lay there, gazing into her smiling face, it hit me:
Yes, I worry about her level of German, and whether it will carry us through the communication I want us to have in our lives.
Yes, I tend to believe that she's far more verbose and expressive in English right now.
Yes, I find myself wondering what to do about these beliefs and concerns, wondering even further if my perspective is skewed.
But what I don't worry about is our love and the connection we have behind language.

Throughout this bilingual journey, I realize how much emphasis I've put on the words, on the abilities to learn them, to form them into sentences, connected by intricate and accurately-used conjunctions. But what I've tended to ignore until now is the power behind the words, and all that can be and is expressed above and beyond language.

Who knows if Kaya is a different kid in German than she is in English. Sometimes I think so.
And who knows if we'll do this forever.

But when I come back to that 'love fest', to that presence and power, it fuels me.
It leaves me with a sense of confidence that, as many concerns as I've had about the pros and cons of this journey, love trumps.


  1. Great to hear how you guys are doing. This post really touched me. Sending virtual hugs across the ocean :-)

  2. Thanks, oh so Bonne Maman!! Your hugs are warming and wonderful!

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you so much for sharing your impression!!

  4. Hallo, dear. I have just read your introduction and so excited about following your blog. I am in the same non-native shoes. My mother tongue is Arabic but I speak English fluently and with an American accent. I use English with my daughter since her birth (she is 22 months now). Around 99% of her vocabulary now is English and she response well to English. I am not sure how she understands Arabic though, and it is worrying me! My parents speak little English and they use it with my girl. She also goes to a nursery where English is the main language with some Arabic from the assistants. We are planning to put our daughter in the French class when she is two. I am not sure how to make sure that she will use her native tongue to integrate with people who don't speak English and how to help her with the 3rd language. I will follow your blog, looking for some inspiration :)

    1. Hello there! My hugest apologies for the delay in responding! I'm back on the blogging horse again, after much too long of a hiatus, and I'm so happy to be back. I'm really glad you found my blog, I love to be able to pay forward all the inspiration that I was seeking when I was in the early stages, too. I hope you're able to find some here and that you'll consider commenting again--normally, I'm much faster at responding, but I've been in school and a bit over my head. But alas, good for you for sticking with your non-native language with your kids. I know how hard that can be for sure. In regards to Arabic, while I'm no expert, if it's really important to you that she speak that, it seems like it would be good for you to start integrating some of that somehow. It sounds like she's getting a lot of English input, perhaps you may be her best source for Arabic? Have you considered a different method, like perhaps speaking English in the community and Arabic at home, so that she can learn to associate when and where which language would be spoken? I've often thought of doing that, but since I'm her only source of German, I'm hesitant to speak any less with her. But for you, it might be something you want to consider?


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