My world of late, has been filled with ups and downs. The last week or two have particularly felt like a steep uphill climb. By the end of last week I was feeling tired. Very tired. A friend then reminded me that on any journey, when we’re feeling that we’re too exhausted to take the next step, that’s the time to just sit down, rehydrate and take a good look around. So, I decided to take her advice.
I remember, as a new mom, how my definition of a “successful day” drastically changed from being one that included hard work, exercise, getting through lists of admin and indulging in something that I enjoy, to simply making it through the day with 2 alive babies, and maybe packing away the washing… and really a fantastic day would include making a meal that was a bit more complicated than peanut butter on toast. This week has reminded me of those early days. I’ve set aside the piles of overwhelming admin, I even cancelled a few of our usual afternoon activities. I’ve just taken a few days to stop and simply feel my kaleidoscope of emotions rather than trying to puzzle them all together.
I reached a low point yesterday when I took the twins to their swimming lesson. (I then regretted not having cancelled swimming for this week). Being incredibly nervous, when they started swimming lessons a few months ago, I had to get into the swimming pool with them, as Hadassah, in particular, would not go near their very sweet and gentle swimming teacher. I’m not someone who does the swimming costume thing. Every lesson, it would be a bunch of kids with their teachers in the pool…and me, whilst the rest of the parents enjoyed the entertainment. Not my favourite activity of the week! By some kind of miracle, it turns out that our swimming teacher knows a fair amount of sign language and has experience in teaching the deaf to swim. So, after a few months, I decided a few weeks ago, that I would try to not to have to get into the pool with them. I explained to Hadassah, that Mommy was going to sit whilst she and Tahlita were going to swim and have fun with their nice teacher. It took a week or two, and things seemed fine. Wonderful! Then yesterday, they were both so excited for their little lesson, and eagerly awaited their turn in their bright pink swimming costumes and polka dot swimming caps. When it was time to join their teacher, Hadassah went crazy. Tahlita happily went off, but Hadassah threw an absolute tantrum and would not even try to communicate the problem with me. I signed and said “what’s wrong” about a million times to try to get her to calm down and express her feelings as best as she could, but nothing helped. She didn’t want to get into the pool, she didn’t want to sit on my lap, she was not hungry, nor thirsty nor needed the toilet, I even offered to sit on the stairs of the pool with her but she wouldn’t have it. We created more entertainment yesterday for everyone in that swimming school, than my being inside of the water ever did. An afternoon where I wished that they could speak fluently, so that I could understand. To add insult to injury, when Tahlita had finished her lesson, she went straight up to Hadassah and very firmly signed to her sister that she had been very naughty – the wailing intensified! Oh, my week was going from bad to worse.
Then this afternoon, I took time to really just “sit and look around.” I saw 3 little girls smiling, playing and laughing. Tahlita was going through the days of the week, Hadassah wrote down her first letters (“H” and “T”) and brought them over to me with such excitement in her eyes whilst she signed them and showed me the written letters simultaneously, and little Eden was paging through a new book whilst commenting on the odd thing that she saw with her gruff little voice and chubby little fingers. I was being asked to make honey and peanut butter sandwiches by one whilst the other asked for a cheese triangle. Look at what has happened in 4 months of proper intervention. Four months ago, the chaos that I experienced yesterday at our swimming lesson was my every hour, every day experience. Yes, there are moments of frustration and disappointment, but one doesn’t need to have deaf kiddies to experience these emotions. Another thing I noticed whilst “sitting in the shade”, was that there are many people out there climbing some mighty steep hills. Deaf and hearing…we all have our own stories and challenges. Let’s keep encouraging our neighbours on their journeys, and from time to time, as my friend encouraged, just be sure to find a spot to simply sit or lie down, and take a look around.