Super Londyn’s Sign

Photo by Rikki Lauren Photography

There is something unexplainable and special about TinySuperheroes.

It’s hard for me to write about because I’m always nervous that it will come across as if I think I had something to do with this. I have a lot to do with TinySuperheroes…my awesome team would probably panic if I left because I’m quite unorganized actually (big surprise, I know) but I definitely do not want credit for this special part because it is something deeper than anything I could have even imagined.

We had our Open House this past weekend to celebrate National Superhero Day. Hopefully at some point I’ll get around to writing a post about that…

But for this I just want to focus on one special moment (among dozens) that happened that day.

I’m backing up a week to an event we participated in called Shoot for Seamus.  (I seriously need to do a post about that too…see what I mean about being disorganized?)

This event is led by amazing women (many of whom are professional photographers) and the goal is to capture photos for families of NICU babies.

I have the pleasure of giving our teeniest capes to these sweet babies (there were 104 of them that day).

Photo by Meghan Stewart

This was my second year participating and it was fun to meet some new folks who joined this year.  Two of them were named Marquita and Mia.  They were there because they knew what these families were going through and were honored to have an opportunity to give back.

Marquita’s daughter, Londn, and Mia’s son, Gavin, both spent 9 months in the NICU during the same time when they were born 9 years ago. It is obvious that this time formed an unbreakable bond between these two women.

They both have a remarkable spirit about them, and I was fortunate that Marquita was assigned to tag along with me, so while roaming the quiet halls of the NICU we were able to chat. I felt like I had known her forever.

One week later I invited both of them to bring their kids to our Open House! I was a little worried that I was jumping in too fast, but they kept right up and I had the pleasure of meeting Gavin & Londyn on National Superhero Day! We had some other Squad Members here too, so they were able to give Gavin & Londyn their capes and officially welcome them to the Squad. (This was a REALLY special moment though not the focus of this story…)

Super Gavin receiving his cape

When Londyn was born she weighed just over 1 pound. Marquita was repeatedly told that Londyn would never be able to breathe on her own as she relied on a trach and ventilator in the hospital. An amazing testimony of faith, Marquita and her husband never gave up on this possibility and of course Super Londyn has been breathing on her own for most of her life now!

I can’t possibly capture their journey with Londyn in this post, so I just want you to know that I’m leaving out so many important details on how a 1lb baby can turn into a 5-foot-tall, beautiful 9 year old girl.

Super Londyn has significant hearing loss and has a cochlear implant in her left ear. She communicates in many ways, sign language being one of them. Becoming fluent in sign language is on my bucket list so I’m probably annoyingly excited to meet people who speak it.

So, Super Londyn and I were talking and I was showing off my skills (I’ve been spending a lot of time singing to Baby Signing Time)…like how I can sign eat, drink, play, candy, apple…and my current favorite, cracker. Londyn was appropriately laughing with me and will certainly make a fabulous teacher some day.

So there is this very special thing in the Signing Community where people have symbols to represent their name.

—— I am in no way educated or properly familiar with the Signing Community, so I’ll probably have a lot of this wrong – so I’m sincerely apologizing upfront. — —

So you can spell someone’s name with the alphabet, which I think is a very common way to introduce yourself, but there’s also this tradition of sorts where you can receive a symbol – or a special sign that someone creates to represent you!

Super Londyn has a symbol for her name.  You make the “L” with your finger and bounce it over your heart. Marquita and Londyn were teaching me her symbol and decided they wanted to give me one. They made the “R” with both hands and put them in the position that means “Tiny or Small” (like TinySuperheroes…) and they made it my symbol…a special sign to represent me!

I’m unfortunately not a big crier, but if I were, I would have been bawling. In some ways this is a small gesture. Anyone can have a symbol..but it must be given to you by someone in the signing community…which makes it so beautiful.

I’m having trouble finding the words to explain why this moment was so special to me…I think it really embodied so much of what I love about our TinySuperheroes Squad in one moment. Love, Unity, Inclusion…celebrating each other just as we are. Londyn welcomed me into her journey with wide open arms – no hesitation – and I wonder what it would be like if more humans could wrap their arms around strangers like this.

Super Londyn is quite amazing and I’m sure I only know about 2% of her story. The imprint she left on my heart that day was deep. I have found myself doing her symbol just to relive that special time together.

My life is never better than in these moments when I feel real connection, and more often than not it is when I’m with my TinySuperheroes. I only hope that I too can freely embrace people as well as Super Londyn’s family has embraced me.

Super Liam giving Super Londyn her cape! Photo by Rikki Lauren Photography

2 replies
  1. Renee Fishering
    Renee Fishering says:

    What a lovely article.
    As one of Londyns nurse practitioners I can tell you she was an incredible fighter. The unconditional love of her parents at her bedside was a huge part of her successful journey. A delightful family continue to work on projects with Marquita What a trooper Mia was with her little buddy Gavin as Well. Never left his bedside The two of them have an incredible bond and I am so proud and happy to have known and still work with them both and for the opportunity to be a provider for their beautiful children.

    Seeing them with their children 9 years later is a true testament of their love and devotion to their children. Super hero’s for sure.


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