Our gratitude practice typically happens at the dinner table. We go around sharing one thing we are grateful for. We can name something big or small. Taking time to name what we are thankful for has a calming and powerful impact on all of us. We have found that when are intentional about naming what we are grateful for our perspective shifts, our feelings about our circumstance change, and our fear and anxiety decrease.
According to Yale University, “Gratitude is a state of mind that arises when you affirm a good thing in your life that comes outside yourself, or when you notice and relish in little pleasures.” Learning to relish in the little and big aspect of life has been life-changing.
One aspect that I continue to find myself reflecting on is my gratefulness for my children. I feel like I am the luckiest mom in the world to have the gift to parent my three little ones. In fact, parenting my two children with hearing loss has been one unexpected piece in which I feel most grateful for. The impact that their hearing loss has had on me, my family’s life, and on the lives of those around them has changed us in ways we could never have imagined. Their hearing loss has changed us for the better and I will always be grateful beyond words.
“The impact that their hearing loss has had on me, my family’s life, and on the lives of those around them has changed us in ways we could never have imagined.”
Here are reasons I am grateful for my children’s hearing loss.
Before I had children, hearing loss had never crossed my mind. This journey has made me a better person – mother, wife, and friend. The process has taught me patience, humility, resiliency. I have to slow down our pace, reflect more, and see beyond myself. The goal of our family is not to be perfect or look perfect. Our goal of our family is to love, forgive, and grow to be better humans. My child’s hearing loss has cut deep into my pride and opened it up to refine me. Because of this, I am a better human being; a person I feel proud of.
There has been an awakening in me. I see first-hand that the world revolves around the majority and abled. Learning and understanding how my children’s own challenges helps me to see how other marginalized individuals have had to function in the world. Not just me, but my whole family is now more aware, sensitive, and thoughtful to others of all walks and abilities.
Although we love using our hearing aids and hearing technology, we have learned different ways to communicate with each other. Utilizing sign language, body language, and watching each other’s facial expressions has been a part of the hearing loss journey I am grateful for. There are times when words alone do not do an idea justice. Having the ability to express our feelings and thoughts using sign language has been a sweet gift.
“Utilizing sign language, body language, and watching each other’s facial expressions has been a part of the hearing loss journey I am grateful for.”
Additionally, I believe my children have an awareness of the world and others that are solely available to them because of their hearing loss. Their ability to connect with friends and relatives seem to be a unique quality that is theirs alone. As if, their hearing loss has given them strengths in many other areas.
The extra challenges that I see my children face each day because of their hearing loss have shifted the way I see strength, courage, and resiliency. In the little challenges to the big challenges, they reveal to me how strong they truly are. Every morning they wake up ready to discover with curiosity and fervor. As they walk into new settings like school and playdates my children show courage. They dive into the world with resilience. Willing to face challenges over and over and over again.
When my children with hearing loss play and laugh together, I get overwhelmed with emotion. They can hear each other, all of them, because of hearing aids. My children’s hearing aids are nothing less than a miracle to us. While they are not a fix or a cure for their hearing loss, they are a beautiful gift that allows for additional connection to happen with our family and friends. They can hear our “I love yous” and each other’s squeals of laughter as we play peek-a-boo.
“My children’s hearing aids are nothing less than a miracle to us.”
Yesterday, my children were playing spies using the Roger FM technology. This is advanced technology that allows the person wearing the microphone to speak directly to my son’s hearing aids through receivers that are attached at the ends of the aids. My son uses the Roger technology both at school and at home. In this instance, my sons were using the FM system as they played. They were both laughing and running around the house. My oldest son, who does not have hearing loss, clipped the microphone to his shirt and ran to the basement sharing secret messages up to Ayden, our other son who does have hearing loss, upstairs. Ayden hearing him loud and clear through his hearing aids aka super ears ran off to accomplish the secret mission only he could hear.
How we view our situation impacts how we feel about it. Abraham Lincoln said, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” When I choose a mind of gratefulness, I begin to see how it transforms my world. My children’s hearing loss at one point was a source of deep pain. Today, it is a source of joy and one I will forever feel grateful for.
“My children’s hearing loss at one point was a source of deep pain. Today, it is a source of joy and one I will forever feel grateful for.”
This joy did not happen overnight. The journey that we have been on since my son was first diagnosed was not always easy. However, with a daily gratitude practice, sharing with our family what we are thankful for, and keeping a gratitude journal, I have been able to see, over time, how my view of my children’s hearing loss shift. That alone is a gift that I am grateful for.
What has hearing loss taught you to be grateful for? Let us know in the comments below.