I want to interject the little stories of the different events that have taken place up until now, with a time of reflection. Considering that it’s the beginning of a new year, I also thought it apt, to use this opportunity to reply to the several sympathetic responses and questions related to my perceived “shattered dreams”. It seems that this description of my thoughts and feelings in the first few months of this journey, have also evoked a sense of sadness in the hearts of some dear friends and family.
Right in the beginning, that was exactly what I was mourning. I was mourning the loss of dreams; the loss of all the fantasies that I had built up in my head. Like, having lengthy late night discussions; all 4 of us girls in our pajamas squashed into one bed, about the things that really matter in life. Things like: Love, success and what this really means, beauty and how real beauty is so different to that which the world portrays. I’ve envisaged myself having no limitations in expressing to them how magnificently they’ve been created and what incredible potential lies within their hearts. This was what I’d most looked forward to about motherhood. And so, after finding out that they couldn’t hear, my sudden acknowledgement of my inability to communicate with them at that time, felt like a major disappointment.
In my ignorance, I also hit the “fast forward” button in my mind to other days in their lives that have been significant “milestone” days in my life. Graduating from high school without a limitation of choices for their futures, graduating from university, wedding days, babies born etc. Remember, that this “deaf world” is brand new to me, and so in the beginning, I had huge questions of how all these “significant” moments would look like. My definition of “significant” moments has also greatly expanded. The first two, then three, now four word (spoken, signed or mixed) sentences; their love of colours and now numbers; their first ABC’s and then this evening when Eden waddled into the family room stretching out her little hand trying to sign, “I love you”, whilst very proudly uttering “Iluboo” – each one of these is a moment worth celebrating – hugely significant to me!
Then also, as a result of recognizing that I will need to be a very involved mom, especially to juggle the potentially different needs of each child, I have had to give up my own dreams for my career path. Initially that hurt. My ideas and plans that I’ve had, and worked hard towards achieving over many years, have had to be put to rest. I now see that being a mother to these precious three, and all the other exciting things beyond my imagination which I can get involved in, as being even more fulfilling.
At a time of really feeling quite disappointed with my life having drastically veered off the “normal” road, a friend encouraged me to define “normal” for myself. This is a word that most of us use quite carelessly. Depending on what’s happening in our lives, our definitions will differ. I gave it some good thought and finally came up with. “Normal: A state of being ordinary; not too hot and not too cold. Normal blends you in with the crowd, allowing you to go unnoticed, unchallenged and largely, tolerated. Normal is comfortable but usually not exciting and so can be restricting. Normal is usually uneventful; everything is just often okay. Not to be normal means risking rejection and pain for the sake of being extraordinary.” This was my definition of “normal” for that moment. It didn’t seem like such a covetous thing after all.
I’ve also since made deaf friends and seen just how fulfilled and inspiring their lives have been. How often we put people into labeled boxes in spite of our profound ignorance, having never questioned who they really are. I am guilty myself, the medical world does this too often and I am so grateful to have been humbled through my journey thus far. I have started slowly, and will continue to learn to communicate with all three girls, no matter what modality ends up being used. I intend on reaching the place where my communication with them will eventually be excellent and limitless. They will know that they are loved unconditionally, that they are powerful and capable, beautiful and precious. They will know that they are ABLE! These desires of mine have been restored.
So, I no longer feel like all my dreams have been irreparably shattered. I kind of see my former dreams like a glass ornament. The type that “fits the mould”; attractive, but nothing much out of the ordinary. I had some very vivid ideas of how things would turn out, and that has been totally smashed. But, Hope and Perfect Love have picked up the shards, and I’ve realized that something more beautiful than MY ideas, is in the making. A unique mosaic of experiences, challenges and blessings.
2014, I embrace you. Troubles, Pain, Challenges and Frustrations, I do not face you alone. Humility, lets walk hand-in-hand, as although understated, you are most empowering and I desire for you to keep me teachable and flexible. Wisdom, I will pursue you. Joy, Hope and Love, I will not let you out of my reach as I recognize that your part of my journey is dependent on my invitation to you – largely a choice. C.S Lewis is one of my favourite authors. I think that He was exceptionally wise and insightful. These words of his fill me with excited expectation, “There are far better things ahead than any we left behind.”