Darkness engulfs the day as a breath is taken. Bittersweet is your time to rest. Often pondering a checklist; those I create each day with ease for patience. As I reach for your backpack, A familiar aroma of sour milk grasping ahold Do backpacks come with instructions? A village they say, to raise children. To clean backpacks. Parenting a child who struggles to hear. Perhaps two villages. Or. Patience perhaps, may exceed the strength of a village. Marriages fail due to financial burdens. Mother's can not fail their children. Mother's do fail their children. 13 years. A therapist harbors the deepest tales patients entrust. Often I contemplate in complete silence from work to mom hat. Mom hat to work hat. We are in combat is seems at times, society. But the sour milk circles me back to responsibilites realizing half past 8pm. Mom Pre-K homework notes are empty. Clean change of clothes in the sour milked backpack. 10pm Laundry closes. Risk irritating new neighbors? Risk being called a mother who doesn't care. I opt for some dish soap and a dryer sheet and hope for the best. Perhaps if Valentina notices, I can conjure up some comedic relief. Not the end of the world. A child who relies on a mother to also be father. A handbook there should be to grasp in such moments. Three and five That's how many years she has been alive and months in this year. One on April 12th. That's how many years have passed since her diagnosis. 2016 and One. The year and age she was when we packed up and started over. Eternity. The time I have in my heart to give of myself.
Pink. The folder I keep in V's backpack. News to home informing about the day. Reinforcing to her the day. Visually and verbally. What parent thinks of that? Speech and hearing is second nature to most. Not to a child and parent of a child who can not hear. Nightly homework, to report back on what we did at home. Children who are deaf struggle to define associations with past/present. Moreso that a child who is not hearing impaired. The lunchbox is now staring me in the face. Empty me. Clean me. Fill me. 9pm rolls around and the grumble of my tummy. The texts from disgruntled family and friends as to my MIA status. "But we want photos" "Where have you been" Hmmmm. And then, the lunchbox is full. The backpack is faux smelling gorgeous with dryer sheets. Notes are reviewed. Artwork is glorified with Valentina. Homework is completed. Outfits laid out. I sit watching my 3.5yr old on her ancient baby monitor. Her love for the floor will never fail to intrigue me. There's an innateness related. And here I sit. Wondering who to respond to first torn by my desire to read, write, learn. Torn by responsibilities to read work emails, catch up on notes. And here I finish typing and pick up my daughter's Journal. An entry from her mother will mean more 5 years from now That will for sure mean more than anything above. So if you wonder where I am. I am being mindful in every moment in which I live. at 520 am watching a monitor of my daughter waking. at 7am getting us dressed with smiles forced through exhausted eyes. Getting her onto school to listen and hear and learn in her program. Getting myself to listen and hear, laern and teach at work. Monitoring phone calls to tend to Boston Audiology Pre-K hearing of the deaf program Coordinating court schedules Reschedules to accommodate an absent parent Ensuring a schedule is kept Hearing aid batteries don't die Ear wax isn't built up Reminders of picture day. Invites to birthday parties. Grocery shopping. Laundry. having candid shots of my daughter and I counted on one hand. Good thing for selfies. Ensuring my work supports health insurance amongst all. Good thing my brains are existent. Good thing I don't live in the world of what ifs/negativitity. Racing to engage in our nightly routine. Trying to never let my daughter see beyond my smile. That's a mom. That's what I give. So, if I'm not giving my all to you, know it is because two arms and one heart are being placed exactly where they need to be. In my child's smile.
Have you ever wondered what it may be like to one day be told your child can not hear you?...They can not hear you tell them you love them. They have not heard you sing them lullabyes into the wee hours of the night. They have not heard all of the times you rocked them to sleep and talked to them... Telling them all the hopes and dreams you have for them. Hearing loss, deafness, does not define my child, however it does shape the way we needed to adapt to our new reality.
Parenting children in general is an experience with challenges unique to each of us. Parenting single also ranks into something difficult to describe or relate to unless you have experienced such. But, learning how to be strong for our children is universal.
My child and I have a journey set forth that we have began to embrace. One that has led us into the lives of amazing and supportive providers, new friends and cheerleaders. There are times I wish I could describe what all of this feels like, however words really aren't possible in expressing. If you have experienced this, I am certain our eyes could meet and we would immediately share our story by a simple glance, without a single word spoken.
That is power in itself.
Here we unite.
My hope is to build this site as my daughter and I grow along this journey. Something we can look back upon and read together and a place to hold knowledge, wisdom, thoughts and memories. A place to give and receive advice and feedback.
To connect with other moms and families and to share in the value of knowing we are not alone. To share the resources we learn along the way.
To share a good laugh and to share in conversation with all parents about the realities of being parents. There isn't a handbook, however I am fairly certain, with our heads together we can create a pretty darn good guide. So, join us and we will join you.