Monday, October 19, 2009

What Lies Upon One Countertop by Bloom Guest Lindsay Walden

This is a submission we got for the Capturing the Everyday Photo Contest. The length of the accompanying explanation kept us from selecting it as a finalist (the beauty of the writing gave an unfair advantage :) but the minute I read Lindsay's submission about her everyday life with two deaf children, I hoped she would let us share it with all of you. And she did!
It is honest and beautiful and tender - just like the author herself.

Please enjoy:


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We all have an assortment of technical gizmos laying around our homes, perhaps in a special place, a throne for paying homage to our cell phones, ipods, Bluetooth or whatever the latest, new, must-have technology might be. In this great age of convenience we can’t imagine our lives without these complex devices and are at a complete loss when our cell phone falls out of our back pocket and into the public toilet (oops!) or your PDA freezes up after your 7 month-old has drooled all over it.

In my home our most expensive, most used, and most necessary technology belongs to my two little boys, six year-old Parker, and two year-old Caleb. They are both deaf and between them have three cochlear implant processors (CIs) and a hearing aid. Without this equipment this frantic world of sound becomes a silent moving picture. As I gaze upon this complex pile of cables, processors, batteries and ear-molds, a swell of emotion wells up inside of me. My mind recalls the thoughts, emotions and experiences that this technology has come to mean to me and my family.

It begins with those first desperate moments after hearing that my brand new, perfect baby boy isn’t completely perfect after all. It’s pulling my sorry, sulky self up by the proverbial bootstraps and sitting in front of the computer to soak up every piece of information about deafness on the world wide web. It’s finding comfort in newfound knowledge and advances in technology. It’s shedding tears of joy as the musical ring of my baby’s laughter is heard for the first time after tentatively placing his first set of hearing aids on his precious little ears. It’s incessantly worrying about how to pay for this equipment on top of our student loans. It’s feeling overwhelmed with pride when my son’s first word is “mama.” It’s gradually becoming used to the idea of raising a deaf son, interspersed with periods of frantic worry about his future. It’s making great sacrifices so he can see the best doctors and therapists available. It’s relying on family to help with the financial burden of providing the very best. It’s yelling “Save the hearing aids!” when my two year-old trips and falls into the pool. It’s despairing as we discover that our child’s deafness is indeed getting worse. It’s making crucial life decisions like where to live and what job to take based on what “services” are available for our deaf child. It’s learning to rely on God for these most important of decisions. It’s feeling blessed for His guidance. It’s wondering if this new life growing inside of me can hear my off-key voice singing lullabies to him. It’s the ups and downs that come with a new baby being born with hearing and then quickly losing it in the first year of his life. It’s starting over with the hearing aids and appointments with a second child and wondering if I can survive the onslaught of double the appointments. It’s loving the sound of my son singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” at the top of his lungs during sacrament meeting and hoping the people around us appreciate it as much as I do. It’s spending endless hours searching soccer fields, the backyard and the sidewalk for the little one’s earmolds and hearing aids. It’s laughing when my son walks by the refrigerator and the magnet from his CI coil jumps from his head to the fridge. It’s struggling with the “experts” whose egos seem to be more expert than their opinions. It’s coming to terms with inflicting surgery on my precious little boys in order to allow them greater progress. It’s wanting to cry with them as they recover from a trying day at the hospital. It’s once again wondering if a third child will be subject to all of this craziness. It’s wishing I too could “take my ears off” when the baby is crying. It’s feeling relief and yet a strange sense of loss in learning that my baby girl can hear a pin drop. It’s yelling for the first time, “Be quiet or you’ll wake the baby!” It’s learning important life lessons from my six year-old who is quick to pray when his CI is missing, displaying unwavering faith and gratitude for answered prayers. It’s hugging my first grader tight after he tells me, “I wish I could hear without my cochlear implant and hearing aid.” It’s hopefully teaching my child important lessons in life about empathy, growth and advocacy. It’s watching in amazement as they advance quickly beyond my expectations. It’s feeling giddy about the sound of my little one saying words with that tricky high frequency sound, /s/, with no difficulty. It’s feeling hopeful and grateful as I can finally envision these handsome, intelligent, sweet boys as grown men, not defined by a disability, but by their experiences, faith and personalities.



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10 comments:

duck said...

ndsay, you are simply amazing. This had me in tears. I love and miss you and your precious children so incredibly much right now. Thank you so much "Bloom" for posting that!

Talia Smith said...

As a mother of an autistic son I complely understand where she is coming from, especially about the where to live based on services. I always thought that we would move where the best job offer came from but now our perspective on things have changed. Thank you for posting this. such a beautiful story and pic to go with it.

Joan said...

Thank you for the perspective Lindsay. I enjoyed your heartfelt thoughts. Best wishes for your sweet boys.

Sally said...

Beautiful post!

Tasha said...

This was beautiful. As a mother of a newborn diagnosed with a hearing loss, I have felt alone. I'm glad to know I'm not. Thank you for the inspiring words.

Dave and Mandy said...

Anne and Emily - thank you for posting this beautiful piece and picture. My family and I just sent off my profoundly deaf brother on a two-year mission for our church. Lindsay, earmolds, hearing aids, batteries and eventually cochlear devices were an everyday sight on my mother's counter top for 19 years. I know you can do this with the Lord's help. Hopefully, in a few years, you'll be sending off handsome young men on ASL missions too. Thank you for sharing your everday with us.

Katie said...

Lindsay, thank you! My two year old had his second cochlear implant surgery this last week. I completely understand how you feel about these devices, processing how to care for a deaf son, etc., and I appreciate you sharing your experiences. We are still early on this path (he had the first implant surgery only five months ago) and it is exciting to hear about the progress you have made with your sons. Best of luck!

Mrs. Cropper said...

I love reading these comments and seeing how you are connecting with each other and finding strength in one another. That is one of our greatest hopes with Bloom.

Lindsay, thank you so much for your beautifully written perspective.

lori said...

This is just beautiful! Thank you!

Amy Jean said...

beautiful! I would have LOVED to hear his rendition of twinkle at church...thank you.