Last weekend, at a soft play birthday party, we met a deaf family. The mother noticed Harriet’s hearing aids and asked me in sign language if she was deaf and if I am deaf. I explained to her that I wasn’t. She said that her mum was hearing and that she was the first deaf child in her family. We had a whole conversation about the kids, will’s school and other bits and pieces. All in sign language.
When we left, I realised it was the first time I’d come upon a deaf situation like that and not walked away wanting to drown myself in gin. It was fine. I didn’t feel happy, or proud of my signing, or like I’d achieved anything. But I felt fine. And that’s a bloody long way from how I would have felt a year or two ago.
When relaying this story to someone they said to me “I know you think it’s hard but you’re just at home and you’d be bored. It’s a challenge and the bigger the challenge, the greater the reward. And you’ve really achieved so much.”
The last sentence is, I think, what they meant to say. Because the first bit basically says “it’s good your kids turned out deaf because otherwise you’d be bored”. Which is a shocking thing to say.
I can guarantee that if my kids could hear that I would not be wishing they were deaf (or disabled in any other way) so I had more to do. And I can guarantee that there are stay at home mothers all over the world that are bored and that none of them wish their kids were disabled.
I one hundred percent, totally and utterly, with all my heart wish that my children could hear naturally. For them. For their future. For their ambitions and dreams.
Because it is their lives that will ultimately be affected by them being deaf. Not mine. They will have far more challenges to rise to than me. They will never be bored.
And I am certain that they will rise to them, conquer them, and be rewarded. Just like I have mine.
And, if I do my job properly, and rise to the biggest challenge of all, they won’t wish they they weren’t deaf. They will embrace everything about themselves and they will conquer the world.
And only then will I feel better than fine.
And until then I certainly won’t be bored.
Am I supposed to be grateful for that?