use your words


When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain.

~ William Shakespeare


Brooke was frustrated. As so often happens when she’s at the end of her rope, words orbited somewhere just outside her reach. She grunted at her sister, then stomped as if to punctuate her wordless sentence.

I was doing my best to corral the girls into the bank so that I could quickly hit the ATM. I would have waited until Luau was home, but the four dollars in my pocket weren’t going to last that long.

Katie watched her sister thoughtfully as she held the door for her.

“Brooke,” she said gently as her sister huffed past her, “you’re really lucky that you have words, you know. There are a lot of people who don’t. So I know that you’re having a hard time right now, but you do have words. Do you think you could find them?”

Brooke jumped again, hitting the ground with a thud, then let out a pained whimper.

Katie let the door close and stepped in behind her sister as if nothing were out of the ordinary. Brooke began her perimeter walk of the tiny lobby.

I fumbled for my card, trying to get us out of there before the whole scene had a chance to get really ugly. I fed it to the machine, then punched in my code and waited. Then I punched in Get Cash From Checking and waited. Then I punched in an amount and waited, pleading with the ATM gods to speed this process just this once.

As I finally gathered the cash, Brooke marched up to her sister. She got just a little too close to her and stood right under her nose. She said, “Katie, whatdyasay?”

It was more of a demand than a question.

Katie didn’t flinch.

“I said that you’re really lucky to have words, Brooke. And I asked if you could use them.”

Brooke didn’t move.

Katie didn’t move.

Nothing moved.

I held my breath and watched.

Brooke wrapped her arms around her sister’s waist and said, “I love you, Katie.”

Katie hugged her back. “I love you too, Brooke,” then added, “Really good job using your words.”


40 thoughts on “use your words

  1. Oof, you *know* this one hit me like a freight train in the chest. Katie is so right on about having words. I love the ones Brooke chose! xo

  2. Use your words….yep…say it all the time. This is beautiful! What a precious moment! Thank you for the smile.

  3. Oh I know you realise how lucky you are, but just to be sure, thanks for sharing the joy (even if I am tinged with a bare hint of jealousy…)

  4. SO amazing …the connection your girls have! Brooke is so very lucky to have such a wise big sister! We too are working on “using our words” my poor girl still gets them so mixed up…when I say to her …what’s s wrong? Use your words…she says ‘ I am happy…I am sad!’ It is heartbreaking to watch…but we will get there! My girl has a great little brother …and though his language is WAY beyond hers…he doesn’t have Katie ‘s patience at 3 yrs old.
    Thanks for the happy tears!

  5. What is wonderful is that you have allowed Katie and Brooke to have their own relationship- on their terms. I have found myself stopping some moments between my girls because I am afraid Abby will knock Maddie down etc. I am trying to catch myself and stop trying to protect Maddie ALL THE TIME! I really love how you stepped back and just allowed them to solve the issue themselves. Good lesson for me. Thank you

  6. Oh my. I started off the day with a notice that one of my accounts had been hacked, so I went on a password-changing spree that took way too long. Now here I sit, having finally managed to get around to showering and putting on makeup, only to have my newly applied mascara smeared by tears. I love how you store away these priceless moments and how you find the words to share them with us. Thank you.

  7. If she’s anything like mine, the “I love you” was an expression of gratitude to Katie for getting her (getting how hard it was for her in that moment.) Have I mentioned how much I adore Katie?

  8. how? Your girls are just so amazing. my 5 year old pushes my boy’s buttons. my 14 year old had no patience. the 17 year old gets him only because hes a spectrum kind of kid too. but they argue all the time. is because they are boys or am I just missing something. seeing these posts gives me both hope and fear. Hope that it will be ok and fear that it never will be. they forget that Sam is different then they are. they think because he has words he is just like them. he isn’t. they treat him like any other kid, and I say that’s what I want …but …is it? I’m so sorry I’m rambling. What I mean to say is your girls are incredible and I hope someday I can see stuff like this with my boys.

    • If you expect as much love and kindness from your boys, and we do from our girls, you might occasionally be left disappointed (oh do I know that! Having both) but you will also raise the bar rather than lower it, and you will see the difference. Especially when they are young men… And Dads… And Husbands. 🙂

  9. Love your girls. I love them the way I do favorite characters in a novel, because I only know them through your stories; but love them just the same. So glad B has words. xo

    (Not sure if you ever notice regular commenters dropping off – But I, as I’m sure you find happens with others, am still reading and loving your posts, but it is only moments like now, in a departure lounge en route to Chile, that I have time to reply. Gosh, I’ve become a lurker!)

    • And now I just read all the lovely comments and compliments for Katie – which I echo. But what struck me more about this story was the words Brooke chose to use. I read this with her as the lead, and heroine of the story by making a Choice to use loving words. Just sayin’.

  10. Lillian reminds me SO much of Katie….so quick to love the younger siblings whom they just have to sacrifice a lot of themselves for, and so incredibly mature and wise in little 11 year old bodies. Always picking up the slack and moving right along and deciphering, protecting, and just being downright awesome. She told me the other day….”You know mom, he responds so well to love. When you get bent out of shape and all aggravated with him, it makes him worse.”

    Uhhh…..right, baby. Guess she told ME. And when he does completely fall apart, he runs straight to her sometime and buries his face in her chest and crying he says, “I just LOVE you Lily!!!” It’s the most heartbreaking and beautiful moments I’ve ever been a part of. I’m convinced our households are strangely similar in so many ways.;)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s