Hi, I am Amanda and my daughter is deaf

****THIS POST ORIGINALLY FROM FALL 2013****

 

As you may know from reading my last post “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood…or so I thought, we have been dealing with some real ASSHOLES.  The sign has not been moved back, but it will be moved back within 2 weeks from today. 

To be honest, I have a hard time driving by that house.  My blood boils.  My eyes well up with tears.  I cannot fathom how anybody could ever think there is something more important than safety.  To think that a “Deaf Children Near” sign would de-value their home or turn away buyers and prevent them from selling their home is mind boggling to me.

As I was contemplating all of that in my head, I realized something about this whole process.  My daughter is DEAF, moderately deaf, but still classified as deaf.  Up until now I stayed away from that word.  Not that I was ashamed, but because I didn’t understand.  I would always use “hard-of-hearing” because she did have some hearing, so she wasn’t deaf.  Right?  For some reason I thought that if you had hearing aids and didn’t sign, you could not be classified as deaf.  Now I see things differently.

The definition of deaf is “lacking the power of hearing or having impaired hearing.”  Well, Addie is not in possession of full power of hearing (I really hate the word impaired), so by definition she is deaf.  My daughter is deaf.  I don’t think I will ever be able to explain how empowering it feels to accept that statement and be proud of it.

This past year has been a roller coaster of emotions; not knowing what was causing the hearing loss to watching her joy over her hearing aids and decorations, to asshole neighbors who whether they realize it or not, are trying to stigmatize my daughter for being deaf.  You know what?  Screw them!  My daughter is deaf and Ben and I have busted our asses making sure that our daughter does not feel ashamed for who she is, and we have done a damn fine job.  She is confident, she is compassionate, and she has a sense of humor that would crack most comics up.  Our daughter is perfect.  She is deaf and she is PERFECT. 

Hi, my name is Amanda and I am proud to be the mommy of my deaf daughter.

Acceptance

****THIS POST ORIGINALLY FROM FALL 2013****

It is finally starting to cool down, leaves are changing, and in the late afternoon parks flood with children in shin guards, running, and kicking soccer balls through endless arrangements of cones.  There is something about this time of year I absolutely love; it gets darker earlier, sweatshirts are need for evening events, and there is a smell in the air that feels like home.  I am instantly transported to my childhood soccer practices, the years I coached my siblings’ soccer teams, and weekend tournaments with some amazing girls. 

This year is different.  I still love this time of year, the weather, the overall feeling, but seeing the kids play soccer breaks my heart.  Addie will not be able to play organized soccer.  With Addie’s diagnosis of Pendred Syndrome, she cannot play contact sports.  Her hearing loss is progressive and hard impact, especially any to the head, can cause her hearing to go faster and more severe.  In our opinion, the risks outweigh the gains, so soccer is out.

A year ago I wasn’t sure if I wanted Addie to play soccer.  I was afraid of being overbearing and letting my previous experiences get the best of me.  Now, soccer is not an option, and all I see when I pass the fields are experiences that Addie will not get to partake in.  The practices, scrimmages, games, and out of town tournaments will never be an option.  There are other sports, her favorite sport, baseball, is still an option, but this year I am still dealing with the reality that my little mini-me, will not have the chance at playing the sport that occupied most of free time during my childhood. 

For now, I will embrace backyard soccer sessions, just the two of us, and as she gets older and tries different activities, I will encourage and learn about what ever path she takes.  Why wouldn’t I?  My parents didn’t know a thing about soccer when I started playing, but by the time my sister started playing, they were season veterans.  I may be a little sad that she will never play soccer like I did, but I look forward to learning something new and watching her in “her” element.