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Chordae Tendineae


Human anatomy I’ve always found to be a strikingly tender science. Certainly, I always loved the dryness of the carbon chains and the satisfaction of growing new strains of bacterium, but seeing the human body and lovingly learning all of the nooks and crannies, all of the ways that we are all the same underneath, that is beautiful.

I always heard civilians shudder when I explained that I would be assisting with a dissection.

“Gross,” they would say. “I could NEVER do something like that.”

When pressed, I never got anything more specific from them, which meant that they’d never seen one, because the body, well, the human body is not gross. It is resplendent. It is powerful. It is amazing. It is beautiful.

All of the organ systems functioning in synchronicity so that we are able to walk upright, speak, form words, paint beautiful pictures, draw pictures with our written words, love, that is not gross. And that is what human anatomy is.

Inside, we are even more beautiful than out.

Rarely, however, do the names of the parts of the body reflect their beauty.

Often, they’re named after the anatomist who found them because scientists are about as self-serving and obnoxious as bloggers. The Islets of Langerhans, for example may bring to mind a nice set of islands found off the coast of Ireland, but no, they’re actually endocrine-producing cells of the pancreas.

Even the very word pancreas sounds more like something you’d find dead on the side of the road than something that creates the body’s most important enzymes. But to say it aloud sounds dirty, something you spit out of your mouth, a splat, an inelegant word for a very elegant organ.

The day we learned of the heart, I came across the words chordae tendineae, and I stopped for a moment. Latin words make me happy, which is probably, in part, why I am so attracted to virology. Continuing on, I read what this curious, elegant term meant.

The chordae tendineae are tendinous cords of dense tissue that connect the two atrioventricular valves to their papillary muscles in the hearts ventricles.

The chordae tendineae are the heart strings.

That is probably the most graceful and magnificent term I have ever heard and the best representation of why I find human anatomy so intoxicatingly lovely.  We human beings actually have heart strings.

Whenever I am sad, I think of those tiny strings, which I have seen with my own eyes, felt with my fingers, those strings of fibrous tissue, so very much stronger than they look, and I am comforted by the heart strings that bind us all.

On my refrigerator hangs a report from Early Intervention with my daughter’s name on it. It is a discharge sheet that states that she is at or above level for everything. It was true then. It is not true any longer. I cannot bear to take it down, because to take it down would be to admit defeat.

I will not be defeated. My daughter will not be defeated.

When I called my case worker, she sounded so sad to hear from me, her voice mirroring my own. It didn’t help that the only sheet of paper I could find with the phone number on it was her discharge from the program with a jaunty, “We enjoyed working with your family!” on it.

The therapist will come several days after my 30th birthday to evaluate my daughter and to tell me what I already know: Amelia is not normal. Amelia needs help. I am a trained diagnostician and I am aware of both of these facts. I am also aware that I am doing the right things. But knowing this doesn’t make this any easier for me.

There is something between her brilliantly big brain and delicate rosebud mouth that isn’t connecting properly. It fills me with a well of sorrow I didn’t even know I had, because I want so badly to hear her words. All of her words. Stories of Saturn and the planetarium and pleas for cookies and candy and the injustice of it all when I deny her.

I want to know my daughter.

Instead, I kiss her head and rub her scar and apologize to her for what is certain to be a hard road ahead. My heart strings clench painfully and I cry bitter tears, wishing I could make it easy for her, knowing I can’t.

We’re gearing up for a battle over here and we’ll win.

Eventually. Some way, somehow, we’ll win.

151 Comments to

“Chordae Tendineae”

  1. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:20 pm Lesley @Avalea Says:

    You most certainly will, sweetie. (((Hugs)))

  2. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:22 pm joel Says:

    stay up homie.

  3. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:25 pm ThePeachy1 Says:

    As a mom to a really special guy, I know exactly what you are feeling, he too flew threw the early intervention screens, he is now 18. His story is hard. Hopefully yours wont have to be.

  4. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:27 pm Brett Says:

    Beautiful writing, adorable kid–best to you and your family.

  5. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:44 pm Brett Says:

    I’m new, but not a robot. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this.

  6. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:27 pm Becky Mochaface Says:

    You’ll win because us Band of Merry Pranksters will fight with you and for you.

  7. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:27 pm Amy d Says:

    Oh God, Becky. I am so sorry. You and your amazing family will be in my thoughts and prayers. All my love to you!

  8. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:29 pm melanie Says:

    Yes you will win! My daughter just now got serious about talking at 25 months….. but still its on HER terms, she will not repeat her words when asked, often doesn’t speak a single word around others, and will sometimes go weeks if not months without saying a word that you know that she knows! My son was 2 1/2 before he started talking with any regularity, but I know its different when your kid is born “normal”, you tend to adopt more of a wait-and-see approach. Stay strong Mama— Amelia is gonna kick some vocabulary ass, I have a feeling its just going to be on HER terms.

  9. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:32 pm Tara Says:

    I have always been so enchanted by the fact that human’s actually have heart strings (and since I’m a nurse, I tend to not be enchanted by things that the human body can do. Mostly because my involvement with the human body consists of fliuds and those said fluids being hurled at me at an alarming pace. ::shudders::)

    “Tugging at one’s heart strings” never rings more true when children are involved. Especially when they are your own children. Amelia kicked science in the balls once and she is sure to do it again. Just in case she needs a little extra help, I will be praying for her, for you & for your family.

  10. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:35 pm Meghan Says:

    Aunt Becky, I read your blog every day, but I’ve never left a comment. I always want to, but I’m shy, ha. Anywhoozle, Mimi is beautiful, and I know you already know how amazing you are. As a mother, wife, writer, and woman. You inspire me, lady!!

    My thoughts are with you and the family, and even though I might not comment (EVER! Bad Meghan!!!) I am reading, reading, reading!!

    <3 <3 <3

  11. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:35 pm Susan @ Sassafrassery Says:

    With you as her Mommy, she will win. That gorgeous girl with the big brown eyes WILL win.

  12. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:36 pm Melissa Says:

    Non verbal is hard. I have really only heard about it in books and through you, but I know its hard WORK too. And you are a bad mamma jamma, and I KNOW you will get that kid on the right track. Mimi is in all of our heart strings, as are you, and they are all pulling for you.

    You WILL conquer, MIMI will conquer!

  13. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:37 pm The Sweetest Says:

    You will! I cannot imagine the disappointment and anxiety you must be feeling over this, but as a fellow RN, former high school nurse, and 6th grade teacher, I have seen countless health cards and files for kids that were marked at a young age with “developmental delay” and turned out to be vibrant, speaking, reading & writing kids. Hang in there, and keep being assertive.

  14. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:38 pm Rebecca Says:

    She is just so gorgeous. Maybe she’s not talking because she has 2 older brothers who talk for her and a mom who does a whole lot of talking. I bet even The Daver has problems getting a word in with so many talking heads around.

    Is she showing you that she’s understanding? Like if you tell her to go to her room and bring back the purple teddy bear (or whatever she likes), will she do that?

    She’s an amazing strong girl who has already beaten the odds once at birth and second with surgery and third by getting released from Early Intervention………..She will continue to kick the odds in the balls and eat them for breakfast or something similar!

    She is a fighter and YOU, Aunt Becky, will be part of her army along with her older brothers, The Daver, and all of us! We are all right beside you guys, praying and trying to fight from within our computers in hopes to reach out to little Amelia so that maybe one day she will start talking and NEVER SHUT UP!

    There was a boy who lived down the road from us when we lived in our old neighborhood and he was about 3 before he said anything at all. He is now 10 and in the extremely gifted program. His parents say that in their research they found that Einstein didn’t talk until he was about that age or older.

    Mimi is just busy growing more brains and getting smarter so she can grow up to cure encephel…….and neurofibromatosis, (for Joey), and figure out why babies are born way too soon.

    She’s got to absorb a ton of information because she’s going to make all these discoveries herself….

  15. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:38 pm Mrs. Cline Says:

    Bless her and you and both your heart strings. You’ve made me want to learn more about the human body, because you’re so right. We are so beautifully, intricately made.

  16. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:40 pm Lindsey Says:

    I am so sorry to hear this. You are doing the right thing and you and Amelia will win this. If anyone can, it is the two of you!

  17. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:41 pm Mary Says:

    I can see intelligence, love and fierceness in her beautiful eyes. She will get beyond this and amaze the world. She will conquer this and be all the stronger for it. This is a stressful time and I am sending hugs and prayers for you and your family.

  18. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:42 pm Kristy Says:

    A mother’s love is enough energy to power the world!

  19. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:46 pm cathyjoy Says:

    Mimi will win! How can she not with you as her mommy? This brought tears to my eyes and a prayer to my lips. I will continue to pray for you and Mimi and the boys…

  20. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:49 pm Kimberly Says:

    This was so beautifully written…my heart truly feels for you and your little munchkin. You will both win! You are a strong woman and there is a strong spark in your daughters eyes. Kids are amazing beings who can overcome so much. I work in a children’s hospital and I see it everyday.
    Big hugs

  21. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:51 pm stacey@Havoc&Mayhem Says:

    {{{hugs}}} to you and Mimi

  22. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:54 pm MamaSkates Says:

    damn right u will!!! xoxox

  23. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:54 pm Tequila And Tampons Says:

    Oh 🙁 I wish I had a bucket of magic words to make it all better. Good luck.

  24. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:56 pm Kevin Says:

    I have an 8 month daughter, and no words for how much this moved me …

    Our thoughts are with you.


  25. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:56 pm JoJo Says:

    She’ll kick this! She’s so much stronger than anything life throws at her.

  26. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:57 pm Sara @ Life With the Two Says:

    Sending love, hugs, prayers, positive thoughts (and possibly a boyfriend for the booby stein) your way. I can’t even begin to imagine what this is like, but I’m here for you no matter what!

  27. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:58 pm gypsygrrl Says:

    aunt becky, my heart-strings love you.

    miss amelia (i love her name, BTW) will always be a wonder and your cinnamon girl. and you are being the wonderful momma and getting the help she needs, and i know somewhere behind MY heart-strings she will be OK. no matter what. because she has a kickass momma and daddy and two big brothers. and with that smile and those brown eyes, she will communicate 🙂

    love you friend and sending you hugs across the way… xoxoxo

  28. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:58 pm Anna Marie Says:

    What a touching, beautiful post. I am sorry about this challenge your family faces, but I know you will handle it with grace and strength. My thoughts are with you.

  29. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:58 pm C @ Kid Things Says:

    From what I see, she’s already won. She’s a beautiful, stunning little girl who has you for a mom. Sometimes, some of us are just called on to fight a little bit harder than everybody else.

    By the way, my son is over 4 years old and I still can’t hear all of his words. But I know I will, in time.

  30. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:00 pm Liam's Mommy Says:

    Hang in there, Aunt Becky! I know this is a tough time for you, but you, your family, and especially your beautiful little girl with come out of this stronger in the end.

  31. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:04 pm Anna Says:

    Dude. That girl shoved her brains back in her head when she was itty bitty… you better believe she’s not going to just sit back and shut up forever. In fact, I can pretty clearly see her Chuck Norris-ing the hell out of this obstacle. And I am cheering her on.

  32. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:04 pm Katie Says:

    I have a cousin who was non-verbal until she was about 3 and a half. And now that she’s six we can’t get her to shut up. That might not be the case with Mimi but no matter what happens she’s got one of the best families out there and all us Pranksters behind her.

  33. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:06 pm Tweets that mention Chordae Tendineae | Mommy Wants Vodka -- Says:

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  34. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:07 pm Ami Says:

    Becky, she sparkles, she’s feisty, she’s definitely expressive, previous to now she was on or a head of the curve, and most importantly she’s got you for a Mommy. Mimi is going to be FINE. It might suck for a while and there might be hard work, but that little ball of personality is gonna kick this things ass just like she’s done everything else.

    By the way, she gets cuter with every single picture. I love the two teeth and curls!

  35. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:10 pm a Says:

    Somehow, I look in that lovely little face, and expect to hear the sweetest little voice, with perfect clarity and enunciation, saying “Fuck you, Mommy. I WILL climb up the bookcase to get that sparkly object because I am a princess and I deserve it.” Maybe she’s just waiting ’til she can perfect it.

    I’m praying that it’s a matter of will (on her part) rather than a matter of anatomy. But I know you’ll work hard to figure it out. Much luck.

  36. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:11 pm Kate (@katetheowl) Says:

    She has been strong since the moment you conceived her. I know it doesn’t make the path any smoother to hear that, but you know it’s true. You have everything in your favor to defeat her challenges and we’re all here, cheering Mimi on. Lots of love to all of you.

  37. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:18 pm choosy Says:

    One day, Mimi will keep some verbal butt.
    Because she is one bad ass MOFO.(And so is her MO.)
    I taught both of my kids signs so they could communicate before they could talk. This helped a lot with my son due to his speech impediment…

    Just know I’m thinking about you.

  38. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:22 pm Chibi Jeebs Says:

    You’ll win. Mimi will win. And we’ll all be here by your side, helping you win. Love you, dear heart. <3

  39. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:24 pm Joanna Says:

    You will win. Your Amelia is such a beauty and she is so lucky to have you for a mom.

    This tugged at my chordae tendineae for sure.

  40. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:26 pm foxykate Says:

    oh, aunt becky. this is such a sweet, sweet thing to read, all held together with smarts – my favorite kind of writing.

    she is beautiful, and whether or not she’ll ever tell you all her stories in words remains to be seen, you’ll hear them in so many other ways. she will surely be the best Amelia she can possibly be.

  41. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:36 pm Brooke Says:

    Oy, Becky, once again you’ve made me teary. My heart aches for you. You will win, and Amelia is lucky to have you in her corner. When you need some hope, we’ll hold some up for you.

  42. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:36 pm bummed uterus Says:

    I read somewhere once that many children born in the recent years are talking later on than expected not because there is something horribly wrong but because they are morer sensitive and telepathic. They don’t need to speak yet because they understand everything already. I like that.

  43. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:36 pm karen Says:

    Oh Aunt Becky, I’m sorry that your heart strings are being tested so much … but I’m glad that you know how resilient and tough they are … and imagine, your Daver and babies all have tough heart strings too.

    As a friend of many people who are not neurotypical (and I’ve been thinkin’ I’m not too neurotypical myself lately), all I know is that we all have a place on this goofy planet regardless of how average and typical we are or aren’t. And remember, nothing ever is as it seems until it is. And then it quickly turns into something else. Hang in there and thanks for all of the encouraging words you put out here in cyberspace.


  44. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:37 pm bummed uterus Says:

    I read somewhere once that many children born in the recent years are talking later on than expected not because there is something horribly wrong but because they are more sensitive and telepathic. They don’t need to speak yet because they understand everything already. I like that.

  45. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:38 pm Kerry Says:

    as a mama that heard words from my baby and then had them taken away, i get this. i was just getting to know my little 18 month old and then the words were gone. We are still hopeful, our fight is different but it’s still a fight. Early Intervention is key and you are all over it.

    hugs to you!!

  46. On July 1st, 2010 at 3:38 pm Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] Says:

    You will all win out.

  47. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:49 pm 6512 and growing Says:

    Early intervention is HUGE.
    Kudos to you for stepping up and speaking up.

  48. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:56 pm swirl girl Says:

    Although perhaps not for the same reasons as sweet Amelia – there are some children who don’t talk for years. Then, just as inexplicably as the not talking …is the not STOPPING!!!

    I am sure your daughter will be running off her whore mouth (just like her mum) in no time at all.

    …and I am not implying she is a whore , or you are a whore…I am just being a prankster.

  49. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:59 pm pattypunker Says:

    you’ve got ninja chordae tendineae that will conquer all! becky and mimi, you tell them how it’s going to be. and you tell them loud and in your own words. and when you’re done, tell them to suck it because you’re done with this thing.

  50. On July 1st, 2010 at 5:02 pm Tracy Spillane Says:

    I’m on Team Amelia!!!!! <3

  51. On July 1st, 2010 at 5:03 pm The Suburban Housewife Says:

    Mimi will win this battle. She has blown everyone away with her awesomeness so far, and she will continue to do so. Thoughts and prayers for you and Amelia

  52. On July 1st, 2010 at 5:08 pm Beth Says:

    This is absolutely beautiful… and I don’t know what to tell you except to offer virtual hugs and to say that since your daughter comes from you, she’s got to be a fighter too. I think you’ll both blow the odds straight to hell and make it work.

  53. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:14 pm Nona Says:

    Much love to you and to Mimi. You will win. She will fill your heart with all her words.

  54. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:19 pm Chelle Says:

    My heart goes out to you.

    Having been a mostly regular reader this last year, I am confidant you and your family have the strength to get through this.

    Sending love and good wishes your way.

  55. On July 1st, 2010 at 5:28 pm Becca Says:

    I know you will win because you are the awesome Aunt Becky and she is the unbeatable Mimi!! Also, no more making me cry today, kthxbai!! 🙂

  56. On July 1st, 2010 at 5:29 pm mumma boo Says:

    Oh dear heart, Mimi is one lucky little girl to have such a savvy, determined woman as her mom. You already know how much of a fighter she is and what YOU are capable of doing when faced with tough odds. She will win this fight, and I’ve no doubt that you’ll be regaling us with tales of how she can out-curse you by the time she’s five. You’d better start thinking up some new ones now – she is. I can see it in those eyes.

  57. On July 1st, 2010 at 5:37 pm Jennifer Says:

    Becky, I love it when you write from your chordae tendinae. That kind of writing is not for cowards. You are an artist and the written landscapes you create can take my breath away.

    As for your beautiful and feisty little Mimi, I’m putting my money on her. She’s already beaten the odds. Someday she’ll wow us all with her own breathtaking gifts. Warm cyber hugs to you both.

  58. On July 1st, 2010 at 5:43 pm dufmanno Says:

    I wish I had as much tenacity and burning will to fight as the two of you. This day I am without the proper words to say how much this post moved me.
    In the words of Edna… FIGHT!, WIN!

  59. On July 1st, 2010 at 4:58 pm Dot Says:

    Certainly tugged at my chordae tendinae. Hang in there. The rhapsodic portions of this were beautiful. The rest is so sad.

  60. On July 1st, 2010 at 6:18 pm Angie the Anti-Theist Says:

    Have hope, Becky. I didn’t talk till I was 3, and my son waited till he was 4. Go forward with early intervention – as you already know, they are awesome people. But… this may not be anywhere near as bad as you fear.

    And (American Academy of Pediatrics be damned) Kid learned a lot from watching interactive kids tv shows like Blues Clues & that accursed loathed Dora.

  61. On July 1st, 2010 at 6:24 pm Mwa Says:

    Big hug to you. Remember she’s only small and can still learn anything and everything.

  62. On July 1st, 2010 at 6:37 pm BecZhang Says:

    Hell yes you will win!

  63. On July 1st, 2010 at 6:46 pm injaynesworld Says:

    I’m glad you decided to write about it. This piece shows the depth of your talent as a writer. You need to keep writing about this — for yourself, for your daughter, and for others in similar situations who have the words in their hearts, but not the ability to voice them.

    Big hugs…

  64. On July 1st, 2010 at 5:46 pm Anjali Says:

    My heart strings are pulling hard and mighty for both you and Mimi.

    Much love, A.

  65. On July 1st, 2010 at 5:51 pm TeacherMommy Says:

    Fight on. You have the stuff to win. And so does she.

  66. On July 1st, 2010 at 6:54 pm 21st Century Housewife Says:

    I want to be able to say, “all will be well,” and I know that there is no guarantee of that, but I WILL say, “You are loved and Amelia is loved and you both kick ass so hard, and all will be some version of well.”

    And when Mimi is 16 and yells at you because “you just don’t get it,” I hope she doesn’t see you smirk a victory smirk because she kicks ass so hard. Because that would just piss her off.

  67. On July 1st, 2010 at 6:02 pm Kathryn Says:

    You summed up exactly how a lot of us feel when our child falls off the path. You are doing great, keep going, keep believing in her. Those little people are amazing tough creatures and you are an amazing tough Mom. You have a difficult path ahead of you, but having walked a different way up the hill myself I can tell you it’s worth the sweat and tears.

  68. On July 1st, 2010 at 7:11 pm Mary Says:

    McPolish brought me here awhile ago,and I am so glad she did. This is an incredible post about your little ass-kicker. She will find her words, and God (or Bob) forbid, she has the most eloquent Mama to speak up for her.

  69. On July 1st, 2010 at 7:23 pm Tracy Au GoGo Says:

    A little known fact about me… 7 year old son, Cameron has Type 1 Diabetes. I can totally relate to your situation and am again amazed at how similar we are. Forget Team Edward and Team Jacob! We are Team Ameila and Team Cameron!!!

  70. On July 1st, 2010 at 6:35 pm Susan Says:

    I’ve been through this three times – though never as eloquently. You can do this. Kick. Its. Ass.

  71. On July 1st, 2010 at 7:47 pm Dana Says:

    Don’t lose sight of the finish line, but remember that sometimes it looks quite different than we expect – sometimes it’s even more glorious than we imagined!

  72. On July 1st, 2010 at 7:59 pm Kelley Hunt Says:

    You will both most DEFINITELY win, no doubt. Much love, strength, everything you need to you!

  73. On July 1st, 2010 at 8:00 pm Ellen M Says:

    You are so tenacious — that comes across in almost everything you write — that I know you can give Amelia everything she needs. I wish it were easier for you.

  74. On July 1st, 2010 at 8:26 pm No Good Says:

    Aunt Becky, please put a picture of Amelia’s sparkly pink shoes next to her successful Early Intervention report and remember that day that she told you that she wanted shoes and tried on many pairs until she found the exact ones that she wanted. Lots if people can talk, but how many of them have taste? That’s probably why they don’t test for it. Amelia is genius in many ways and I have every confidence that she will always find a way to communicate successfully. She might need extra help to build the pathways to her words, but that girl is tough! And adorable.

    You might want to read You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up. Annabelle Gurwich and her husband (who’s name I’m not remembering) tell the story of their relationship and life together. It’s hilarious, but it includes the story of their son who was born without an a**h*le. I don’t want to spoil the story, but he’s amazingly ok!!!! I think it might help you smile and give you hope,

    I’m rooting for you!!!!!

  75. On July 1st, 2010 at 8:28 pm Jennifer B Says:

    I have no doubt whatsoever that Mimi will conquer. She may make you wait, but you WILL hear all her words. Have faith, not in some unknown, but in Mimi. She is a bad ass, just like her momma.

  76. On July 1st, 2010 at 8:33 pm Shin Ae Says:

    Becky, my first thought was YOU HAVE WON. She is HERE and she is beautiful, and amazing, and yes, fiesty and funny and a smart cookie, and a wonderful miracle and prize of a child. And oh yes, I absolutely believe she will speak.

    You know you and Amelia are in my heart and I will pray and I will be here to cheer you on!

    Fight hard girls!

  77. On July 1st, 2010 at 7:42 pm ryanandjoesmom Says:

    Your girl is like you and is a very strong fighter. It won’t be easy, but she will tell you all about it someday. And then those bitter tears will be tears of joy.

    My almost 3 year old is finally talking – somewhat. He’s in ST and is doing much better. I will tell you that you will get so sick of people telling you that ‘one day your kid will never shut up and you should appreciate the silence’. Those words make me want to punch people out. I will never tire of hearing my son talk. It is music to my ears. Love and hugs to you and your family.

  78. On July 1st, 2010 at 8:43 pm Mark Leaning Says:

    YOU are the strongest person I know. YOU, writing what you did – word for word at times – felt as though you were running a marathon. Your daughter has YOU in her. SHE will stand strong, and be her true self one day.

  79. On July 1st, 2010 at 9:22 pm Mer Says:

    You and Amelia will win, no matter how long it takes. Rooting hard for you both.

  80. On July 1st, 2010 at 9:49 pm Jenn Says:

    I’m sorry you are going through this. Though If anyone has the strength to get your little girl (and yourself!) through this it is you. I’m amazed (and inspired) by your strength on a constant basis. You are totally (dude) full of all that Awesome you’re always talking about. I’m sure Amelia is too. xoxo

  81. On July 1st, 2010 at 9:51 pm Jenn Says:

    Umm, I cannot believe that I capitalized “If” – what the fuck was I thinking? Me=NotFullofTheAwesome. Love you! xoxo

  82. On July 1st, 2010 at 8:58 pm Ms. Moon Says:

    Oh Becky. I am so glad you are her mommy.

  83. On July 1st, 2010 at 10:14 pm Melissa the Librarian Says:

    Yes, you guys will win and your band of Merry Pranksters will be here by your side, fighting alongside you. We won’t leave you to fight this fight alone.

  84. On July 1st, 2010 at 10:36 pm Barbie Says:

    Having a non-verbal child is hard. I totally understand how frustrating and heart breaking it is for you. My oldest, Gage, will be 4 next month and was completely non-verbal(just grunts and groans) until he was about 2 1/2 or so. Thanks to the EI program here in NY he now has language. Or course, he was diagnosed with PDD-NOS so speech is a whole other ball game for him. EI is a wonderful program and I’m sure Amelia will kick some booty. She’ll be making words her bitch soon enough 🙂 I will say, no matter what she will speak to you..words or not. I’ve had full conversations with my son without saying a word and he is so stubborn he has a way of telling you what he wants without saying it. I’m willing to bet you have a little lady that can do the same thing. Best of luck to the little booger 🙂

  85. On July 1st, 2010 at 10:36 pm Emily R Says:

    Oh, babe. I’ve been away too long. I am so sorry you are facing this.

  86. On July 1st, 2010 at 9:45 pm Cat Says:


  87. On July 1st, 2010 at 10:52 pm Dawne Strehl Says:

    She is lucky to have you, a wonderful and caring mom. You made me cry in a good way. Not many people can do that who I don’t know personally. You rock Becks. Much love to you and your lovely babies.

  88. On July 1st, 2010 at 10:15 pm Coco Says:

    Look at her eyes. Her face. Those words are in there, I can just see them inside her tenacious little soul.

    I know you will work together with her therapist and bring them out of her, one way or another.

    I am holding tight to you, my friend, because I know that even though you have everything it takes to fight this battle and kick its ass, it is scary and lonesome and you wish like hell you didn’t have to do it. I am holding you.

  89. On July 1st, 2010 at 11:44 pm Katie Says:

    My heartstrings are being yanked, and my eyes are full of tears, but then I see the picture at the end of that sparkly little angel, and KNOW in my heart that that girl is going to kick ass. Maybe she is just taking a little more time to figure her stuff out. My thoughts are with you and the Daver, but know that you can do this, and that everything will work out for the very best. You are doing the very best. Give Amelia the Prankster’s love…cover her in kisses, wrap her in hugs, and let her know that she is adored by us. She’s a doll, and so my dear Aunt Becky, are you. 🙂

  90. On July 1st, 2010 at 10:48 pm Wombat Central Says:

    Big hugs. Team Mimi and Mama will make things happen.

  91. On July 2nd, 2010 at 12:42 am kalakly Says:

    Hard, sucks ass. Becky and Amelia, kick ass. ergo, YOU WIN!

    Behind you all the way(so please don’t fart) and supporting you 110%. Always.

  92. On July 1st, 2010 at 11:57 pm Lori Lavender Luz Says:

    Hugs to you, Aunt Becky. XO I understand a little bit how you might feel.

    Thanks for teaching me some Latin.

  93. On July 2nd, 2010 at 1:03 am ScienceGeek Says:

    You got a truckload of people pulling for the both of you. Cruiseship load, even. They’ve all said everything I’m thinking, but I’m going to add one more little thing:

    You look after YOURSELF, okay, Becky? Because this is going to be a battle, and you’ve got the firepower of hundreds of Pranksters in your corner, but General Aunt Becky is going to be right at the front of this thing. So look after you, too.

    (Alternatively, would you prefer Queen Aunt Becky? We can do this Elizabeth I style! We can rename The Daver ‘Thy Favoured Consort’, and Dexter can be ‘Thy TV Consort’).

  94. On July 2nd, 2010 at 5:41 am Katrina Says:

    Sorry to hear about this, Becky. Amelia is so lucky to have you as a mother, and with your and the therapists’ help, she WILL kick ass. I am thinking about you guys.

  95. On July 2nd, 2010 at 7:18 am Betty M Says:

    You’ll both get there I’m sure. Absolutely. Have you started makaton or the Yankee equivalent? Signing has helped many of the people I know whose kids are/were non-verbal.

  96. On July 2nd, 2010 at 8:51 am leanne Says:

    Beautiful and heart-wrenching. As you know, I have seen with my own eyes how resilient kids and their brains can be. Somehow, some way you and Amelia will get through this… so you both can get back to kicking ass and taking names.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all…

  97. On July 2nd, 2010 at 8:28 am Trista Says:

    This is such a beautifully written post. I am so sorry to hear that Amelia faces another hurdle. She has the best support a girl could ask for (a ferocious mama who will get her the best of help) and the well-wishes of an entire community of Pranksters to help in this fight. I’m sending mine right now.

  98. On July 2nd, 2010 at 8:34 am jen Says:

    you will win and you will know your daughter, why? because you and she are full of The Awesome! i have no doubts!

  99. On July 2nd, 2010 at 9:35 am statia Says:

    Oh sweets. You WILL get through this. And even if she has some bumps along the way. She will prevail. I know it’s so hard (as do you) to see your child not developing as they should.

    But you are one strong, badass motherfucker. And Mimi does not fall far from her tree.

  100. On July 2nd, 2010 at 9:42 am TeDiouS Says:

    Did any little girl EVER have so many thoughts, prayers and good wishes being sent her way? She will be well and all manner of things will be well…if WE have any say about it.

  101. On July 2nd, 2010 at 10:46 am sara Says:

    You will win, you most certainly will. What a freakin cool comparison of the chordae tendineae. I remember when we saw them in anesthesia school when we had our cadavers. They were so delicate – just like I imagined they would be. You wanted to touch them but you were so afraid to all at the same time. I remember working in the ICU as a nurse – new grad and hearing the surgeon say that my incoming patient had had a papillary muscle rupture as well. It seems like all things of the heart are delicate, tender and so fragile.

    Thank you for sharing that beautiful photo – your little one is always in my thoughts and prayers. She is so lucky and blessed to have a great mom like you. Even though some moments are delicate – you are going to kick a-s and come through with blazing fire on the other side. Well at least if I have any say 🙂 ((Hugs))

  102. On July 2nd, 2010 at 11:20 am panamahat Says:

    Sending big love to you all. xx

  103. On July 2nd, 2010 at 11:27 am Ashley, the Accidental Olympian Says:

    I hadn’t realized this post was about your daughters struggle in the very beginning, and yet the words ‘heart strings’ began the process of tearing up.

    By the end there was a slow tear moving down my cheek.

    You will win. We all have faith in that.

  104. On July 2nd, 2010 at 12:11 pm Jeannine Says:

    I love you Aunt Becky.
    I’m rooting for you & Amelia!

  105. On July 2nd, 2010 at 12:12 pm electriclady Says:

    What a beautifully written post. You will win, you badass mama you. Big hugs.

  106. On July 2nd, 2010 at 12:26 pm Krissa Says:

    Oh, honey! I am sooooo sorry you are having these difficulties. She is a beautiful little girl, by the way.
    Children are so resilient and surprising… It’s the parents that are so much more fragile. And you don’t know this until you have raised a child and given her your heart. Strings and all. 😉

  107. On July 2nd, 2010 at 12:33 pm After Words Says:

    You’ve risen above so much already. You’ll lick this too. All good wishes.

  108. On July 2nd, 2010 at 12:35 pm Regina Says:

    Stop making me cry at work! I have a feeling that Amelia(and you) will be fine. And I’m praying that you will. I’m sure she will be cursing up a storm just like her mom before we know it. Thanks for sharing your story- I like the part about the heart strings.

  109. On July 2nd, 2010 at 1:05 pm Queen of the Rant Says:

    Beautiful post, you and your family are in my heart and prayers,

  110. On July 2nd, 2010 at 12:07 pm Halala Mama Says:

    Becky – I have thought about Amelia from time to time and wondered how this was going. I hope for the best and most speedy progress possible!

  111. On July 2nd, 2010 at 1:20 pm Brahm (alfred lives here) Says:

    Brave and eloquent writing — you totally got me. I even tried to pay attention to all the really big words.

    With you in her corner, I too believe she will win!

  112. On July 2nd, 2010 at 1:43 pm Laura Says:

    Shit. That sucks.

    However…. maybe, just maybe it is just nothing. My first girl didn’t talk until over age 2 and then she went nuts.

    GOod for you to be aware, but I bet you will look back on this and smile because it turned out to be nothing.

  113. On July 2nd, 2010 at 2:48 pm Nancy C Says:

    She is going to beat this. That’s all there is to it. Thank you for the walk through our beautiful body.

  114. On July 2nd, 2010 at 4:06 pm pam-tastic Says:

    When you write…you “write hard”, now it is time to fight…”fight hard”!!!

  115. On July 2nd, 2010 at 6:17 pm katrina Says:

    God Aunt Becky, I’ve never cried reading about human anatomy before.You paint such fragile, beautiful pictures with your words. I think i felt my heart strings sobbing. I feel sure that Mimi will overcome whatever obstacles are in her way. She kicked neurosurgeries ass, and she will do the same here. You are a wise momma, i am glad you are seeking outside help. Little Amelia Grace is such a strong, beautiful little soul…she will beat this, and the words will come. ~~Sending Mimi and her family lots of light and love.

  116. On July 2nd, 2010 at 5:20 pm Kate Says:

    Winning. All the way.

  117. On July 2nd, 2010 at 6:59 pm Sandy Says:

    Ok, I talked myself out of worrying about Oscar (who is the same as as Mimi) and now I am worried sick. He is not talking either, but everyone I know keeps telling me this is normal. We are not scheduled for EI until he’s 18 months, but I guess that’s only about six weeks away. Sigh…

  118. On July 2nd, 2010 at 7:39 pm baseballmom Says:

    yes you totally WILL win…this too, shall pass. you are all strong and she is a fighter~and you are doing the right thing by taking care of it, as you know. hang in there, i will be praying!

  119. On July 2nd, 2010 at 8:37 pm Venti Vixen Says:

    You and Mimi WILL kick ass!

  120. On July 2nd, 2010 at 9:26 pm MamaCas Says:

    Thinking of you. (Sounds like such a feeble thing to say…but it’s true.) I’m desperately hoping it’s just a simple delay and nothing more.

  121. On July 2nd, 2010 at 9:31 pm darkfairymomma Says:

    Oh Aunt Becky, many many hugs to you and little Mimi. You both are fighters and will pull through this.

  122. On July 3rd, 2010 at 12:16 am Devin Says:

    Oh no Aunt Becky! This must be terribly difficult. Your beautiful daughter is such a fighter, I hope that maybe with some therapy she may be able to find her precious words! Just a thought, but have you considered trying some sign language with her? You may not get to hear her sweet voice, but it would let you communicate with each other! You are in my thoughts and prayers!

  123. On July 3rd, 2010 at 1:18 am thenextmartha Says:

    Love, Hugs, Hope, Faith, Laugh, and LIVE. You can all do it. I just know it.

  124. On July 3rd, 2010 at 1:24 am Zakary Says:

    If anyone is going to kick this in the balls, it will be the two of you.

    Much love to all of you.

    (Her face just kills me, I love her.)

  125. On July 3rd, 2010 at 2:22 am Kristin Says:

    Oh honey, this post tugs hard at my heart strings. I have complete faith that you will get to hear all her words one day. Stay strong and take this bitch by the balls. You and Mimi will win.

  126. On July 3rd, 2010 at 4:25 am poosemommy Says:

    Oh, Aunt Becky, you have tugged at my chordae tendineae.(Loved that BTW – A&P was my favorite subject in my RN program so far)
    Call on your knowledge of anatomy to try to ease your mind a bit: From what you have told us about Amelia’s encephelocele, it was over her posterior fontanelle. Now if she is still understanding what you say to her then I’d wager it’s not because Wernicke’s area was affected. And Broca’s area is even less likely to be afftected by her surgery given it’s ventral location on the temporal lobe. EI is certainly the place to start, as that is a blessing to have available. Maybe (I pray) this is something else: children develop in different areas, often one at a time (i.e. large-motor skills OR small-motor skills, but not both at once). Maybe A-dog is developing something else right now? Walking or running? Climbing? Ninja wall-crawling? Those eyes say that there is plenty going on in her mind. I believe that she will speak volumes when the time is right, in whatever way works for her.
    I know that got lengthy and that is only my amateur attempt to apply reason when my emotions want to scream and cry for (and probably with) you.
    “Hear my prayer, hear my prayer, hear my prayer, please God, hear my prayer.”
    We are all praying for you. All of you.

  127. On July 3rd, 2010 at 1:32 pm Kori Says:

    Aunt Becky, Aunt Becky, there is absolutely nothing I can say that 1. everyone else hasn’t already said and 2. that will make one fucking bit of difference in your life. I can’t help you, I can help that sweet baby girl, I can’t even rush over and make soup and let you cry and take your kids to the park so you can trash the house and scream out loud about fucking unfair life is sometimes. but I can listen, and i can pray, and I can hold you close to my heart.

  128. On July 3rd, 2010 at 4:45 pm vanita Says:

    I feel for you and can only slightly imagine what you’re going through. I could write a whole post about it and probably will. In the meantime, know I’m praying for you and your daughter. You will win. She will win! No need to feel defeated at all. Stay strong mama.

  129. On July 3rd, 2010 at 11:32 pm Leigh Says:

    Love has no words. And that is because love NEEDS no words. Praying that your family has peace, joy and the ultimate victory….

  130. On July 4th, 2010 at 2:33 am Andygirl Says:

    That was beautiful. If there is one thing I’ve learned reading your blog thus far it’s that you’re an incredibly strong woman and I think you’re up to the task. HUGS!

  131. On July 4th, 2010 at 8:28 am Badass Geek Says:

    Damn, Becky. My thoughts are with you and yours as you go through this.

  132. On July 4th, 2010 at 12:52 pm Ann Says:

    Sorry I’m just catching up on this, and so sorry you & yours are going through this. I love the picture you posted of Mimi, because first of all she is absolutely freaking adorable, and second, it’s clear that she can very much communicate with her wonderfully expressive face and her body language. Which doesn’t really solve anything per se, but it’s also better than nothing. Now we just have to figure out how to get her words working so we can get all the details. I have every faith in you and your amazing family. You’ll get through this, and I’ll be cheering you on every step of the way (albeit occasionally a few days late, but caring just as much). Big hugs to you, Mimi, and the rest of your fam!

  133. On July 4th, 2010 at 1:07 pm habanerogal Says:

    Stay brave mama somehow you and Gorgeous baby Mimi will triumph

  134. On July 4th, 2010 at 7:44 pm Painted Maypole Says:

    this post made my heart strings go “zing”

  135. On July 4th, 2010 at 7:28 pm The Only Girl Says:

    Keeping you all in my thoughts!

  136. On July 5th, 2010 at 10:33 am amber Says:

    If anybody can get through this, it’s you guys. She’ll come through this and be stronger for it…at least that’s what I’ll be hoping for.

  137. On July 5th, 2010 at 8:15 pm Jen Says:

    Thinking of you, and visualizing Mimi sassing you at age 4.

  138. On July 5th, 2010 at 11:13 pm foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog) Says:

    Damn right you will. Plain and simple. She’s already proven she’s one hell of a fighter, and you know you are, too!

  139. On July 6th, 2010 at 3:10 am StacieT Says:

    Oh, Becky. This one brought tears to my eyes. I will be here to cheer you both on to victory. Much love to you.

  140. On July 6th, 2010 at 4:56 pm Dora Says:

    So behind in my reading.

    Of course Amelia will win. She’s a seriously tough cookie, and she has a powerhouse fighter for a mommy.

    Much love to you!

  141. On July 6th, 2010 at 6:27 pm Tracie Says:

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this right now. You know I’m a speech therapist. If I lived in your town I would love to have Ms. Mimi on my caseload. Good parents (ie involved and on board with treatment) and early intervention go a long way towards prognosis in most cases. You guys will do just fine.

  142. On July 7th, 2010 at 3:10 am Jennifer C Says:

    She will win I promise you. My son just turned 5 last week and started Early Intervention right around Mimi’s age. He spent 3 years in therapy (Speech, OT and PT) and is starting in a regular Kindergarten class in the fall 🙂 I promise you, give it a few months and you will be astounded at the strides she makes. Sometimes our chicks need a little push out of the nest-Amelia will be fine I promise you. Good for you for recognizing that she needs the help and making that call. Having been there I know how hard that first step is to take.

    Big Squeezie Hugs.


  143. On July 8th, 2010 at 12:59 pm lis Says:

    i have been thinking about this post, and your Mimi for a week or so now. i just haven’t been able to put into words all the feelings i put into tears when i read it. just know that im thinking of you and your beautiful baby, and that im sure you know that early intervention makes miracles happen. im so sorry that it has come to this, but you are being a kickass advocate for your daughter.
    i do hope you will indulge us with a video the day she speaks those first lovely words.

  144. On July 8th, 2010 at 5:53 pm 100DaysinBed Says:

    You are such a beautiful writer. And she is a beautiful daughter. And you are such a good, good Mom.

  145. On July 9th, 2010 at 9:57 am Your Aunt Becky Says:

    Mili is my girl, through and through. All my child. And thank you. This post had to be written.

  146. On July 13th, 2010 at 8:34 am Kendra Says:

    She is so wonderful, so spectacular, and so lucky to have you as a mom (and all the other people she has in her corner). She is deeply unlucky to have been saddled with this challenge, and I wish I could actually do something to make it feel better. You have an amazing sense with words, and I hope that with you and all the other people she has working for her, we will soon be able to hear all her incredible thoughts as well.

  147. On July 22nd, 2010 at 9:24 pm Catootes Says:

    The climb up the mountain is a bitch, but man, the view from the otherside will be paradise. You guys have each other and every other prankster pulling from the other side.

  148. On September 25th, 2010 at 1:18 pm Natalie Says:

    I admire your strength and the beauty of your words. She is lucky to have such a strong woman to look up to.

    I’ll send lots of good thoughts and karma to you all!

  149. On September 25th, 2010 at 1:20 pm jana Says:

    You will win, my dear. You will win. Mili is so blessed to have you and you are blessed to have her. I hope her words will come one day and flow as beautifully as yours do, but you’ll always share the connection of those heart strings. That’s a language only a mother knows…

  150. On September 25th, 2010 at 1:51 pm mommabird2345 Says:

    This pulled my chordae tendineae. With a mommy like you, she WILL win. You all will. *HUGS*

  151. On December 24th, 2011 at 10:53 am - Mommy Wants Vodka Says:

    […] the surface. The Little Prince was right, what is essential is invisible to the eye. And when my heartstrings pull painfully in my chest, imagining the times when it will be so hard for her, I comfort myself […]

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