As a hearing parent of a deaf child, I have many worries. Wanting to be able to communicate and bond with my baby, whom I longed for so many years to have, has been a labor of love. Learning sign language has been, and continues to be, a wonderful challenge. Making the choice for Calvin to have a cochlear implant (CI) has me wondering at times if my husband and I made the right decision on his behalf. I’ve met so many amazing, warm, and welcoming people in the deaf community over the last nearly two years. Was a CI really necessary for him to lead a full, productive, rich life? Perhaps not. But still, we chose this path for him, and we continue to look for the evidence to help set our hearts and minds at ease that this was absolutely the right thing for our baby.
Regardless, we continue to want to respect and embrace our child’s first language and the fact that no matter what surgical interventions and devices we can provide to him, he is still a deaf child who is always going to experience the world in a nuanced way. Being able to watch him engage in his world, both with sound and without, has been one of the greatest joys and privileges ever. I am the luckiest person in the world to have been chosen to be this amazing boy’s mama.
This weekend, we took Calvin to the kiddie symphony for the first time. It was loud and overwhelming. Tots and their parents filled the lobby of the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The smell of goldfish crackers and diaper wipes wafted through the air. I watched Calvin survey the activity with those enormous brown eyes of his and wondered if he’d be able to appreciate the instruments and the songs when they began to play. As a hearing person, I really want my boy to love music–all kinds of music. I wondered if he’d be able to make sense of everything he was hearing, or would it all just sound like a big jumbled up mess? Would he be confused and frustrated by all the sounds? Would he just shut down and want to remove his CI and take it in visually instead of trying to process all the noise flooding his brain?
Again, I worry.
Well, for the eleventy-billionth time since this boy was born, he amazed me! As I sat there on the floor atop a pile of crushed Cheerios, with a smile plastered across my face (despite some random toddler behind me pressing his foot into my lower back), I watched my baby dance, giggle, and clap along to music…and then I cried like a buffoon!
Thank you universe for that little glimmer of evidence –I really, really needed that!