You may have heard that people who are blind usually have a keen sense of hearing. People in wheelchairs often have strong arms. They make up for their disability by excelling in another. That is the case with Lauren. Since she had limited mobility when it came to physical exertion, she made up for it in other ways. One of those ways was in communicating. She talked… a lot.
When we got to Atlanta and Lauren was admitted to the hospital, she immediately began to say “hi” to everybody she saw. Whoever came in the room, she was the first to speak and it was funny because people would ask, “Is that baby talking?” “Um-m, yes, she is.” And usually at this point, they would go over and start talking to her and she would smile and grin.
She learned a new phrase during that first hospital stay, “Uh-oh”. And whether she knew what it meant or not, every time a nurse or doctor would come in, she would say, “Uh-oh.” It seemed appropriate for during that phase of her life, there were lots of “Uh-oh-s.” I don’t know if they still do it or not, but the place they put an IV on babies was in the soft spot on the top of their head. To keep it from coming out, they would place a small Dixie cup on top of the baby’s head and tape it over the IV spot. They called it a party hat, and though she looked kind of cute, I never thought it was a party.
After Lauren’s first surgery, she was less active than she was before and so she began to absorb every word and try to say everything. Bible class was her favorite place to learn new words and I am forever indebted to the teaching of Joyce Hatcher, who taught the cradle roll class. Lauren could say sun, moon, stars, Bible, trees, flowers, and just about any other word that was spoken in Bible class. She still could not walk, but boy could she talk!
When Lauren was 18 months old, she finally took her first steps and began walking. But, that was not as much fun as talking and listening to words. She loved the story of The Three Little Kittens and she could recite it word for word. If I read it to her and left out a word, she would supply the missing word. She also loved The Foot Book, by Dr. Seuss, and I read it to her so many times that even I still know it by heart. Just ask me!
Lauren continued her amazing language skills as she grew. Despite all that happened to her, she was always friendly, outgoing, and never met a stranger. Once we were up in Cloudcroft, New Mexico eating a picnic lunch when Lauren spied a little boy playing on the playground. Within about 5 minutes time, she knew his name, birthday, and proudly announced, “He’s my friend.”
And that is Lauren today as well. Though she can’t talk as much or as fast as she used to because of her oxygen tube, she talks on the Internet to people all over the world. She is the fastest typist that I know and she can talk to 10 people at a time on the Internet. That is how she spends her days, reaching out to others, sharing the gospel whenever she can. She has also learned to crochet and makes blankets for people that she has never met in person, but she counts them as friends. She’s an amazing person.