Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Discount Tires. All. By. Myself.

This week I was privileged (or not so privileged) enough to visit this place.

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Discount Tires.

Yes, I do have a husband who could do this type of thing for me, but because he’s worked a few too many 12hr days this week, I absolutely insisted on going myself.

My husband did call ahead for me, made an appointment, and even told them what type of tires should be put on our SUV.

Something I realize now, looking back, is that I wasn’t even nervous about going in. There was apathy and boredom about the chore, but no apprehension.

I also visited Discount Tires a year ago and remembering the experience is like remembering a different lifetime. It was completely different the trip I made this week. And remembering last year’s visit is like remembering what it was like to be deaf, the time before hearing with my cochlear implant.

I remember last year when I went into the store, I had the sales guy repeat most everything more than once, and I remember actually being upset with my husband that I had go in and to do this myself. I didn’t touch my phone, look at a magazine, or watch TV at all while waiting. I spent the entire waiting period watching every worker like a hawk, trying to know when they’d call my name for my vehicle, not wanting them to call more than once. I’d be mortified if they called me a dozen times and I didn’t hear them. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be for me if they called me five times before I noticed? I’d have to shake it off and murmur something about not paying attention like I always did. No one ever really understood what deaf meant.

This week was so different. I actually wanted to do it myself. I didn’t want my husband to waste precious free time when, because I don’t work, I can easily just do it myself. It’s almost ridiculous to think he should need to. Or have to. And I realize now that the reason I felt he should have to last year wasn’t really for the reasons that I thought.

I can’t say I love Discount Tires. It’s kinda boring sitting there waiting on tires to be replaced.

At least this year I had my iPhone to keep me entertained. When they called my name, I heard them just fine the first time.

New me. New picture.

Some of you, all of you, or maybe just a few of you might have visited my “About Me” page at some point or another during the last [almost] two years of my blogging. If you did, you’d have formerly seen a picture I’d always figured kinda summed me up.

This one.
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When I took the picture, it was long before I had my cochlear implant surgery, and back when I struggled as a deaf person. Being born hearing but late deafened, my first year here as a blogger was my most difficult one. My children were still toddlers, my marriage was bumpy, and while I really wanted to be happy, it was just so very hard to be. I never quite looked life in the eye.

But now? Almost seven months post-activation of my cochlear implant, I know I’m a completely different person.

This is me.

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I normally hate pictures of me. I’m just not one of those people who is comfortable with being photographed, but I got this picture in the mail this week from the photographer we used a few weeks back for family pics. And I love it. I’m such a visual person, and it’s here in this picture that I can see for myself just how much I really am different. It’s one thing to feel it, but for me it’s something completely different to see it.

Thank you McGowan Images for this tangible product of my life now.

I gotta go find a kleenex now!

Letters of my past

This week was a rough week for me personally.

My baby boy turned five last month, and if that wasn’t enough to make me weepy, he started kindergarten on Tuesday.
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More than those reasons for a difficult week, this week required something of me that I’ve really not thought much of.

Years ago, when my husband and I decided to have kids, we talked about the chances of our children inheriting the hearing loss condition that runs through many of my family. At that time, I had probably not even lost fifty percent of my hearing, and I really didn’t expect that I’d lose much more, if any. When my husband and I talked about it, we mutually decided that I lived a normal enough life, a very happy life, and we felt peace about having children. It really wasn’t a difficult decision for either of us.

After having my son, my first child, I had lost a significant portion of my hearing, and my husband and I knew that we’d only have one child. We certainly didn’t expect that I’d get pregnant with my daughter when my son was just five months old, but as a great many parents know, sometimes the unexpected brings quite a bit of joy.

I never think about what our lives would be like without our children. Some may pass judgement on me for choosing to have kids, but I never really think about that either. And another thing I don’t think about? Other than the one day my husband and I talked about whether or not we would have kids, I never think about whether or not my children will ever have hearing loss.

But this week I was forced to think about it.

Because of certain circumstances, I felt a strong obligation last week to really consider my children’s future. I’m not going to spend time worrying about what-ifs, but I did have to write a letter.

The letter I wrote was to my son’s kindergarten teacher. I told her briefly about my own hearing loss, I told her that it is a hereditary condition, and I asked her to look after my son. As a parent, this letter was by far the hardest letter I’ve ever in my life had to write. I didn’t cry, I just wrote a bunch of facts, but as I sit here and write about it, I’m overwhelmed at the emotions that I realize I hold at bay. To date, my son has shown no serious signs of hearing loss. But what I needed from his kindergarten teacher, was for her to be aware of conditions that may show up in his year-long tenure with her. I pray often for my son, that he never has what I do, but at the same time I want him to have every opportunity to succeed as a child. I want so much for him to have the best, even unimaginable, life as possible.

I hope that, by not denying to be aware of the situation, that I make a better life for my children than I had when I refused to admit my difficulties with hearing. I will be honest, though, and say that I genuinely hope and pray that the cycle of this hearing loss is broken with my children. I know it can be.

I pray for myself sometimes too. I pray that God gives me the endurance emotionally to hit this thing head on. To be prepared for it, even if it never happens.

Most of all, I pray for my kids. And I welcome your prayers too.

Half-year Anniversary

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Today marks my six month hearing anniversary with my cochlear implant.

When couples tell me they’ve hit the 6 month mark, whether married or dating, I roll my eyes and think puh-leeze! Six months is really not that long. And I seriously thought about saying nothing at all about it. I mean, it’s natural that I want to hit my one year hearing anniversary with a big bang, but six months? Well, I had to think about it a little, which is probably why I waited until the late evening to even post.

But I really had to.

I asked myself  a few questions today.

What have I done that I couldn’t do before February 17th?

I talked to three people on the phone today. One of those people wasn’t related, nor have I ever met that person. I’ve seen four movies at the movie theater in the past 6 months, none with captions. I’ve come to count four women, all unrelated to me, as friends now. Not just any kind of friend, but closer than that. I can’t yet say that we’re really really close, since I feel like I’ve only known them for 6 months (even though I did talk to them before that), but I know we’ll grow closer still in the 6 months before my one year mark. If it’s even possible, I’ve grown closer to my mom, my dad, and my sister. Other than my husband, they’ve been my rock of support over the last many years.

The biggest things? I’ve become a better, more understanding wife. I’m a better mother. I’ve developed a more patient attitude to both my husband and my children. I have a closer relationship with my children, and carry on many conversations throughout the day. I answer many more questions from my kids, but I also teach them more about life as a whole.

I’m much more confident. I’m more outgoing. I laugh more often. I have a more positive outlook on my life. I enjoy life much more now. The depression I constantly fought while deaf has rapidly decreased, something I’m confident I won’t battle by the time I hit my one year mark.

It’s been a great 6 months.

And I’m anticipating the next.

Baby Fever. Or not.

Something that’s new for me over the past year is that unmistakeable longing for another child. It’s weird. Don’t get me wrong, having babies is great, but my first child was only five months old when my husband and I found that we were pregnant with my daughter.

Not exactly planned.

I love my little girl, and I can’t imagine our world without her, but because she came so soon after my son, I never got to that point where I thought I really want another child now.

On top of that, after my daughter was born, I knew without doubt that I’d never have another baby because I was deaf. It was an emotional thing as a mother, feeling that I put her in danger every time I couldn’t hear her cry. I didn’t want to put another child through that. Even more, I didn’t know if I could emotionally stumble through the baby and toddler phase.

But now?

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I was browsing through some old pictures and found this photo of her. Cuteness!

Over the past few months I’ve known friends who have had babies, family members who have become pregnant, and I kept thinking it’s all just a phase for me, to want another one. Babies are cute and cuddly, sure, but raise your hand if you know how much work is involved?!

The other day I held a friend’s baby for a long time while the baby slept, and I just kept thinking how much I wished I could go through this again.  What must it be like to hear a baby? Not just any baby, but my own baby…

And last night, laying in bed, talking about it with my husband, it kinda smacked me in the head. My own longing for a child isn’t really what I thought it was. It’s not that I feel like our life is incomplete without another child. It isn’t that at all. It’s that I’d love to experience what I never got with my first two kids.

I remember hearing my son laugh loudly the first few times. I remember hearing him cry through a monitor from another room, only if the monitor was at full blast.

But beyond that?

What must it be like for a mother to hear her infant cry from another room and know you can reach him safely? To hear the gentle sound of cooing, or the soft whispers of slumber? I can’t imagine. I really can’t.

Is that a reason to have another baby? No. Not for me it isn’t.

It was nice to see the situation for what it is though. It was refreshing to be honest with myself, smack myself out of the pity party, and continue forward. These things happen in life. We miss out on something that’s so dear to us, want to turn back the clock, but it’s so important that we focus on the good things ahead of us. I could easily mourn what I feel is lost.

Or I could celebrate what’s ahead of me.

Have I said how much I love hearing my kids now? My 3yr old girl was pretending to talk on her toy phone earlier and in a much-too-teenage voice said, “Oh, no way!”

While my son doesn’t always say the silly things anymore (he’s much too cool for that), we have very lengthy conversations about why I think it would be a bad thing for fighter jets to “pow” each other while flying over our house, or what exactly a branch of the military is and how each one is different. And what they do. In detail.

I just love hearing my children each and every day. Even being the 3yr and 5yr olds that they are now. And I’m reminded of a quote Winston Churchill wrote.

“If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find we have lost the future.”

I’m inspired by that. And I know that while I will always remember where I came from, I will choose every day not to lose the beautiful future I have before me. Will you?

Not so long ago…

After getting out of bed the other morning, I quickly donned some clothes and sat down to check my facebook before having to make the kids’ breakfast.

My husband was getting ready for work, and he walks up to my chair and stops. I turned to look up at him, and he’s eying me expectantly. Did he say something?

“What?” I asked.

Blah blah blah.

“Huh?” I say, scrunching my nose and clearly puzzled at what he just said.

He sighs, obviously frustrated and then proceeds to motion at his ear, and I catch something like, “Do you have your processor on?”

“Uh, no.” I say.

He sighs again, which I can’t hear obviously, but his body language is clearly one of a frustrated individual. I give him a smile and tell him I forgot to put it on a second ago. He nods, and walks off, and I almost fall into a fit of laughter.

It’s funny. Heartwarming. And so hard to believe that it was just a few short weeks ago that this was what our life was like. Constantly.

I know a little sign language, and I’ve tried to teach him a few signs, but when he kept getting the “A” and “S” letters mixed up, despite how many times I showed him, I finally just gave up. We were destined to just survive, albeit how hard it was, and wait for technology to annihilate our communication barriers.

It’s in these little moments that I realize how completely different it is now.

Have I said how much I love my husband? I can’t imagine what it was like for him to experience this past decade with me. But he did. And he’s still here, something which I’m always grateful for.

Day 10: Conversations with children. They don’t stop.

Day 10 post-activation has only a little to report. I’ve found that I’m adjusting more and more to the sounds around me, but I don’t have those big milestones of the first few days. Don’t think I’m complaining. I’m grateful for those overwhelming first sensations of hearing, but I’m also glad that my day to day life is returning to a somewhat normal state of being. It’s exhausting to be so emotionally involved in something like this, so I’ve welcomed the slow in pace.

One thing I’ve noticed is that my kids talk nonstop in the car. When I first had my activation, the kids didn’t really talk so much to me. They’d ask me a question now and then, but they didn’t just get engrossed with conversation. But now? I may not understand everything they say behind me while I’m driving, but somewhere between Day 1 and Day 10, the kids learned they can ask me anything at any point in time that I’m driving down the street or the highway.

Since about Day 3, my daughter has known that all she has to do is call my name and I’ll understand that she wants me. My son took a bit longer. Even now, he will often hit an object loudly in order to get my attention. He’ll understand eventually, and I know that he’s been accustomed to my hearing loss for much longer than my daughter. But I think it’s so wonderful to be able to hear my little girl just call Mommy and I can turn to see what she wants.

I never heard either of my children’s first words. Nor their first full sentences. Often I’d be at my mom’s house and she’d tell me all the funny things my kids would say while I was there. I laughed. But I also cried. I missed all of their toddler years of talking, and for so long I felt I was robbed of so many memories that other parents get with their children.

I don’t feel that anymore.

I know it’s still true, that I didn’t really hear either of those first few years of learning to talk, but I can honestly say that it doesn’t bother me anymore. I no longer mourn all these things that would pass me by, that I missed. I now celebrate every day with all the amusing conversations that I have with my kids. I’m eternally grateful for every day with these two munchkins that I’ve been blessed with, no matter what point in our lives that we are now.

In the quiet of the evening one night, my husband told me I’m glad you’re happy again. And it’s true. I’m genuinely happy again.