Yesterday was the ten year anniversary of when SJ was diagnosed with profound hearing loss.
I wrote about that day in 2012 in a post called “Processing the Diagnosis”
Then in 2015 I wrote a post called Living in Holland (thought from a special needs mom) and if you have a special needs child you are probably familiar with the Welcome to Holland poem.
In that blog post from three years into our hearing loss journey I posted this graphic and said “We spent just over two years living in the old normal, there was probably a year of living in shock and just doing my best to stay afloat. The last two years have been transition and we’ll be here for a while. I feel pretty darn close to “New Normal” but we still have such a long way to go.”
Then four years later in 2019 I shared how I almost missed the anniversary of her diagnosis. This was a time of year that was always a major trigger for me so the fact that I didn’t even think about it was a big deal. I was processing that reality and described how it felt like a new chapter and that maybe we had reached the new normal.
Now here we are another three years have passed by and we’ve had a lot of significant breakthroughs recently.
SJ told us she wanted to be baptized.
She accompanied me in a sign language video we posted on YouTube and people we would never be able to reach in person watch it everyday.
It’s not at all viral, but I know from my YouTubeanalytics that there are new views from people in other countries every day and to think about that kind of impact is really cool! A friend of mine saw the Gratitude video and invited SJ to be a part of a ballet performance incorporating sign language and worship. She will perform at two locations this week! It’s so awesome. I can’t wait to share more about that.
SJ also graduated from speech and language therapy and is no longer on an IEP. This is huge!
Then in a couple of weeks she will be on an alumni panel from her deaf school to answer questions from parents and students who are about to transition into public school. The privilege of watching the Lord move in her life and use her story to touch so many is priceless.
Today I was listening to a podcast. Full disclosure, it was a true crime story. I am one of those weirdos that listens to select true crime podcasts. Anyway, they were talking about how this heinous crime split time for this small community into two parts, before the tragedy and after. I immediately thought of how I used to think of SJ’s diagnosis that way. I heard another mom whose child is blind describe it that way. There was life before diagnoses and after. It’s two different worlds.
Except I don’t see it that way now. I see SJ as our little girl who is courageous, talented, beautiful, thoughtful, and deaf. I also see her as an equal part of our whole family. If I were to describe my life as two parts it would have to be life before kids and life after. That feels like two different worlds to me, but to think of SJ without hearing loss now is an incomplete puzzle or a warped photograph.
I feel like it’s been important for me to write about this entire process the past ten years. It helps me, but I really hope that it’s helpful to others. I forget the rawness that I felt in those early days of this journey and when I have it in writing it gives me empathy. Maybe someone will stumble upon this blog post who just had their world split in two, before diagnosis and after. Maybe this blog post from a mom ten years down the road will give them hope.