One of the most important people in my daughter’s life right now is someone we only casually know.
We know her name. But not her birthday.
We know where she works. But not where she lives.
We know her vocation. But not her hobbies or how she likes to spend her time.
What we do know is how she’s chosen to make a difference in the world and how that’s making a difference for my daughter.
She’s my daughter’s speech therapist.
As her speech therapist my daughter spends a significant amount of time working one-on-one with her. They play, learn, laugh, and become frustrated with one another. They see each other week after week. And at least for my daughter, she looks forward to seeing her therapist every week.
She cheers as we approach the building. She runs into the building eager to begin class. And sometimes she doesn’t want to leave.
There are so many people in our lives who we love and who share the day-to-day joys and challenges with us. We have so many who cheer for us and support us as a family. We have friends we meet for playdates at the park and the pool, we have friends who go to church with us, and we have family and friends who share conversations over Skype. Many people in many ways make our days richer.
And one of those people is our speech therapist.
We probably won’t call her on the phone and invite her to the park with us (although my daughter would love that), and we’re not spending hours together detailing the latest meltdown or sleepless nights.
But we do have a deep and powerful relationship with her. Especially my daughter. And as I watch the two of them week after week I can’t help but smile and give thanks for their relationship.
What I do know about my daughter’s speech therapist goes much deeper than what she has for dinner and her favorite tv shows.
I see her patiently model sounds and shape her mouth. I see her play games and blow bubbles teaching words. I see her creatively using toys and games to teach words and sounds. I see her keeping my daughter focused. I see her push my daughter’s hair out of her face. I see her pat my daughter’s arm when she’s frustrated. I see her give my daughter time when she’s not cooperating. I see her hard work and dedication.
And perhaps most poignantly, I see her cheer for my daughter. Full out cheering, smiling, and high-fiving. I see her celebrating my daughter and the sounds and words she’s making.
I see someone who is as invested in helping my daughter talk as we are.
I don’t need to go out and have coffee with our speech therapist to know who she is — I see her week after week loving my daughter. As she cheers for her and works with her, I know all I need to about her — that her love and patience is helping my daughter find her voice.