She has the tiniest little voice. I sat next to her at our friend Lesley’s café, sipping cup after cup of wonderful, rich, café latte; catching up with girlfriends on work and family and life. Loud laughter and quiet musings; sharing story after story as the hours ticked by. ‘This is me,’ our words say aloud. ‘This is who I am. This is who we are.’
Mel’s daughter is a tiny little thing. Nestled under blankets and warm, cozy Snugglies, her car seat envelopes her petite little body. That is, when she isn’t being passed around by several dotting “aunties” who love to hold her close, love to feel her silky smooth locks and smell that magnificent baby smell that our now teenage sons used to have once upon a time.
She had fallen asleep. Despite the loud din of the café, she had had enough and closed her eyes somewhere in the midst of the discussion that centered on how many Weight Watchers points were in a large slice of sausage and mushroom pizza and just how on earth one could be expected to eat only one slice anyway.
And then I heard it. Just like the Whos on the dust speck calling out to Horton, she began to peep. “I am here. I am here.” Tiny baby peeps. Soft, gentle sounds rising up from this little creature. “I am here. Pay attention. I am… here.”
I remember when my sons’ voices sounded like that. When we hung on their every word. When no matter what we were doing, who we were talking to or what we were saying, suddenly that wasn’t as important as the tiny little peep that was trying to find its place in the world.
And over time those little voices grew. Louder and stronger and more confident. They grew from the tiniest of peeps to an often not so dull roar. ‘This is me. Pay attention. This is who I am.’ And we do.
There are, however, people all over this country who have lost their voice, forgotten what it is like to stand up and speak out and have people listen. Men and women with voices that are not heard, voices that began much the same way as yours and mine, but instead of growing louder and stronger and more confident, grew silent, because no one would listen.