This is Sofi, eating the vegan, gluten-free, cookies I made especially for her. With a cup of coconut milk to dip. She signed “happy” and said to me “piya oppy” which is how she says “Sofiya is happy.” It made me pause so completely and sign back to her to confirm that’s what she meant. If anyone knows our story, how Sofi wore hearing aids at 3 mos old, then lost almost the rest of her hearing rendering the aids useless, all the pre-op appts, the struggles, the pain, all the blood work, anesthesia issues, and finally the surgery, you’ll know what this means to us. Following the surgery, all the hard work that we continue to do to try and do everything we can to ensure Sofiya lives her best life and the hours of weekly speech/language/auditory-verbal therapy she’s had since birth, then you’ll understand why I tear up when she says this. I cannot count the many days she has been unhappy- her food allergies causing her severe issues, discomfort, and eczema, her struggles to be heard, to be understood, to be listened to, the frustration at being unable to convey her feelings. And this point, at 5 1/2 years old being able to say she’s happy, just makes me so happy I cry. We have so much more to do, it’s tasking and exhausting to think about, before we begin KG, even after as we have years of language to catch up on, I just want to stay in this moment where piya oppy.