R is for ruby slippers.
Those sparkling little beauties that started a battle between a girl from Kansas and a witch from the west. And of course, we have to toss in some flying monkeys and a yappy little dog!
Everyone who sees the ruby slippers has some memory or association attached to them. Including me.
Whenever I see the rubber slippers, I see a symbol of hope and encouragement, perseverance and answered prayers.
How can a pair of shoes embedded with crystals that catch the light and sparkle with every click of the heels instill hope and encouragement in someone? Well....I'll tell you a little story . . .
A long long time ago, (okay, so it was only about 23 years ago in reality), there was a little tiny girl, so tiny, that she was even smaller than a baby Munchkin! That little girl's name was Prunella. (Not really, but that is what her mom called her. In reality she has a beautiful name, Suzanne).
When Prunella's family learned that she was deaf they started to learn to sign. Learn, learn, practice, practice, teach, teach, learn, learn.
Love, eat, sleep, Mama, Daddy, Brother, tired, yes, no, happy, sad, learn learn learn.
Pru absorbed everything that was signed to her. But, she really didn't sign back. Eventually, she began to sign one word utterances - fish, eat, cat, mama... but always just one sign.
Pru was learning that words and signs had meaning. But, building language is more than mastering one word utterances. Words need to be connected together to convey thoughts and feelings.
Mama began to sign in major overtime. Dad tells Mom that to this day, she still signs in her sleep. Still the Prunella signed love, eat, ball, fish, shoes, yes, Mama, no, sock. One word. One word. One word. Daddy and Brother signed and signed along with Mom. All the while hoping that Prunella and they were on the right road to language.
Sometimes, it was hard to be brave, to know the right thing to do, to not give up hope, but the love they shared just seem to grow and grow. It was almost like that love was leading them on the right path.
So, time passed, signs accumulated and still one sign, one, just one at a time.
One day, Prunella was with her Mom at a doctor's office. Pru was sitting in her cushy little stroller, dressed in a cute little outfit, looking all around. Mom, who reads anything and everything that is written was looking through a Life magazine that had a story about the anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. As was her habit, Mom showed Prunella pictures and signed the words to go with them. Every thing, every where was an opportunity to learn. When Mom turned the next page in the magazine, she showed the picture to Pru -
Pru looked at the picture and before Mommy could sign to her - Pru signed to Mommy
A two word utterance. In perfect ASL syntax! The doorway to language was flung open wide that day. Much like Dorothy's first glimpse of Oz, those ruby slippers were the first of many wonderful joyful strings of signs for Pru. Over the days, weeks and months that followed Prunella and the family rejoiced at every step forward on their own journey.
So, next time you see the ruby slippers, maybe you will think about hope coming in many different forms and guises. Maybe it will give you cause to think about your own ruby slipper moments - joy, hope, courage, love.
R is for ruby slippers, and remembering and rejoicing.