You Are Beautiful

by | Jun 4, 1999 | Encouragement, God's Hands, Helping

Not many people talk to my son. It isn’t that they don’t want to. Everyone who sees him wishes they could. There is something so rare and beautiful about him. I know I’m his mother, and I’m supposed to think that, but strangers often come up to me and just announce how beautiful he is. Instead of saying “Thank you” like any well-mannered mother would, I always look at his beautiful chubby face, with its rosy cheeks, brilliant blue eyes, full red lips, and in awe myself, I simply say “I know”. Something within him bubbles over with life, it amazes even me.

My son is two years old. And he is Deaf.

I used to become embarrassed when strangers would stare at our conversations. My hands flying, my face animated to express my “tone of voice”, and my toddler’s chubby hands fluttering with his baby signs, his face even more animated than mine, I know it is something to see.

But embarrassment soon became pride when I learned that people were only staring because they think our language is beautiful. Indeed it is. Many times I have watched with joy, my heart bursting with pride and sheer love when I see my baby speak with his hands. He can say more with his hands and his face than most children his age can say with their voices. To me, nothing is more beautiful than a child’s small hands signing “I love you”, or “Mama, hold me”.

People will walk up to us, sometimes embarrassed and nervous, sometimes shy, but always curious about this beautiful language we use. Time and time again, I am asked where they can learn to sign. What I used to mistake for rudeness was simply admiration and the wishing of strangers that they could speak like us.

However much they want to, most of the people in my little son’s life cannot speak to him. As a result, he goes through life in a silent confusion, with only a very small percentage of the people he comes in contact with able to communicate with him. And when we do meet someone who “speaks” his language, it is a unique and wonderful gift.

Last week our family went to a nearby Zuka Juice. We were enjoying each other’s company, laughing and talking together. The place was filling up fast, and as usual, I noticed many people watching us sign with Noah. Near the front door were two missionaries, young men dressed in suits. One of them was staring intently at my conversation with Noah. Noah and I were laughing as I was calling him a piggy and he was complying by slurping down his chocolate/peanut butter shake.

The young missionary waited for Noah to turn his head and when he did, he waved at Noah. Noah waved back and grinned his chocolaty two-year old smile. What the young man did next made my heart leap and tears spring to my eyes.

I watched with amazement as his hands formed the signs for “You are beautiful”. I choked back a sob and watched as he did it again. Noah turned and looked at me, his eyes huge, as if to say “MOM, DID YOU SEE THAT?!” I pointed to the young missionary and then showed Noah the sign for “friend”.

The young man then signed to Noah “How are you?” Noah did a few baby signs back and, being two, that was the extent of his attention span. Grinning, the young man told me his sister was fluent in ASL, and over the years he had picked up on it. We made polite conversation, and all too soon it was time to leave.

Although I’ll never see that young man again, for a brief moment he gave me a gift I won’t forget. His conversation with my son was like a ray of sunshine. Remembering his hands telling my child he is beautiful in his own language still brings the tears. There aren’t many moments like that for Noah, and I will savour the memory always.

Susan Fahncke

A little bit about Susan:

Susan Fahncke (FAWN-KEY) is a popular author of inspiring stories. She is a contributing author of many Chicken Soup books, coming this Spring and Summer, Whispers from Heaven magazine, and has a syndicated newspaper column.

Susan has written many magazine and E-Mag publications, and her stories are featured on hundreds of web sites. Susan has received numerous awards for her writing. She is currently working on a compilations book of her stories.


You Are Beautiful