We have so many people in our lives that help support our children with hearing loss.
With the gift of a grateful heart in mind this year, I wanted to take a moment, sit back, and reflect on the amazing people I have in my life that help support my children with hearing loss.
One of my favorite traditions to do as a family is to create a gratitude tree. We go out in the yard, pick up some sticks, and then place them in a Mason jar. Then, as a family, we talk about some of the things for which we are most grateful. We write our answers down on a piece of paper and then hang them on our mini tree. Our gratitude tree will sit in the middle of our dining room table. It stands as a reminder of all we have to be thankful for.
Read more: Why I am grateful for my children’s hearing loss
There is something powerful about taking the time to stop and reflect on the incredible gifts in our lives. Research suggests that having a grateful heart truly can make you happier. In a study with two groups of people, one shared each week things they were grateful for, while the second group shared things that irritated them. Both groups were asked to write about their experiences. After ten weeks, the study showed that those that shared what they were thankful for were more optimistic and felt better about their lives.
“Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation,” Harvard Health Publishing reported.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Nobody can understand this experience more than you. You have been there to cry with when things have gotten hard, and you have been there to share in all the joys. I am grateful for the number of times you have searched through the house, the car, and even garbage cans to help find a lost hearing aid. The hours you spent talking with me through the diagnosis and the best way to support our children means so much. You sit through speech therapy sessions, attend IEP meetings with me, and take our children to the audiologist when they need a new earmold. I can’t imagine having to go through this alone. Please know that your partnership means the world to me.
“I am grateful for the number of times you have searched through the house, the car, and even garbage cans to help find a lost hearing aid.”
Thank you to both my parents and my in-laws. You love on my children with such passion, kindness, and understanding. I see how you pull them close to speak to them, making sure they don’t miss what you are saying. I see you come close, get at their level, and look at their faces when they ask you to repeat yourself when they did not hear the first time or the second or third. Your patience in repeating yourself without showing a hint of frustration brings tears of gratitude to my eyes. You put a hearing aid back in place when needed and change the battery when it dies. I love watching you read books, sing songs, and play games, providing my children with incredibly rich vocabulary, lessons, and experiences. When you take them on weekend trips with you, I am always amazed at how you don’t miss a beat as you handle all the details of their hearing aids. You delight with me in all their milestones and successes. Your presence in our lives is a pillar of strength for us to lean on. Saying “thank you” doesn’t feel enough to match the incredible gratitude we have in our hearts for you.
To all the aunts and uncles and cousins – thank you for being patient. You treat my children like you would any other, but you are aware of their unique needs. Thank you for repeating yourself when needed, for using the Roger FM microphone so my children can hear you on holidays, around the dinner table, or on a car ride. You were champs for us when you not only were willing to help change a hearing aid battery but carry one in your wallet just in case one died when my children were in your care. They’re better because of your presence in our lives.
Thank you for loving my children when we are not present. You are willing to attend speech sessions when needed. You help put hearing aids in and out and keep track of them. We know that is not an easy thing to do, but you do it without blinking an eye. Your fun field trips that you take my children on not only make their day but help build their vocabulary and experiences. We are beyond grateful for you and your role in our children’s lives.
Thank you for your love and support. I am so grateful for the way you love my children like they were your own. You support me in so many ways. When I needed a listening ear to process tough questions I’ve had like which preschool placement is right for my child – you were there. I appreciate your mindfulness to eliminate background noise, making it easier for them to hear and play. You ask questions and you are mindful of their unique needs. Your friendship and love provide the support our family truly needs.
Thank you for the hours and hours you put into teaching my children. We know you are often the unsung heroes. However, I want you to know I see you and the work you do. I hear how loved and cared for my children are when they come home from school. I see their growth and improvement as they are constantly learning new things. You wear the Roger FM touchscreen mic every single moment of the day around your neck. This task alone makes my heart burst with gratitude. You are giving my children access to the classroom that would not otherwise be the case. I know you are aware of the ins and outs of his diagnosis and think of them when the classroom is loud. The way you are challenging them while also accommodating them so that they can maximize all of their potentials is an incredible gift. My gratitude for the work you do and the love you give is endless.
Thank you for setting goals, pushing my children, sharing with me their successes, giving advice, and lending your ear. I cannot imagine what this process would look like without the loving support of capable and talented professionals working with my children.
Thank you for asking questions about my children’s hearing loss and their hearing aids when you are curious. Thank you for not just seeing my children’s hearing aids, but seeing and noting their silliness, strengths, abilities, and kindness.
Thank you for providing an incredible product that is specifically designed for children in mind. Your hearing aids are not just made well, but they are beautiful with tons of different colors to choose from. Thank you for creating a space for families like us to see and hear stories of others with hearing loss. You are giving a gift that is beyond measure; you are reminding us that we are not alone.
I know that not all of your experiences have been great. These situations feel disheartening and frustrating. However, I want to encourage you to continue to look for people who are doing a great job. We know they are there. See the people that are making a difference in your life and your child’s life. Take a moment to let them know how much their work, their love, and their support means to you. Allow yourself to focus your attention on what you are grateful for and watch as a thankful heart can transform your life.