Elisabeth is impaired in many ways. She is cortically blind, she can't walk, she can't speak, she can't eat. The brain damage caused by hydrocephalus - and even further damage by daily seizures - has taken most all abilities from her.
Elisabeth's hearing is perfect. I have always viewed it as a tender mercy since music is an integral part of my life. Consequently, I knew from the start that I would share the world with Elisabeth through sound.
And so I have.
When Elisabeth hears something that intrigues her, she holds very still and focuses with great intent. One of her favorite things to listen to is "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown. I recite it to her daily, over and over and over. It's not simply the words, but the rhythm of the prose that to her is a great comfort. Whenever a medical procedure is done - having an IV placed, for example - I whisper that story in her ear. She stays so focused on the words that she takes little notice of a needle being placed in her.
Last night I was holding her and having her listen to the song "Baby Mine" from a small Dumbo ornament. Her eyes got big and wide; you could see her thinking and processing. It melted my heart - just as it does every time.
Through sound, she sees the world.