Monday, January 26, 2009


one of the things matt and i have heard many, many times since little m's deafness was diagnosed is some variation of, "she is so lucky to have you as parents" or "you are the perfect people to be her parents. (ie the parents of a child with hearing loss or a disability of some sort)" it's one of those comments that i've found is kind of funny. ok, not really funny-ha-ha, more like funny-weird-and-annoying. i know that it is intended as a compliment, and is a way for people to encourage matt and i that we will love her well and embrace her with joy despite her hearing loss. (and so don't feel bad if you've said this to us.)'s funny to me because, wouldn't any parent love their child no matter what their child's physical and mental abilities? yes, i am sure there are exceptions, but there is nothing special about us in that respect - we are just loving our daughter as any good parent would. and a little bit, as the recipient of this comment it feels like someone is either saying, "i wouldn't be able to handle it, but you're the type of people who can" or "little m has hearing loss because you and matt have the capacity to handle a child with hearing loss." i know that isn't what people mean by saying she's lucky to have us as her momma and papa...

i don't quite know how to articulate what about that statement makes me squirm awkwardly, but it hits me someplace wrong inside every time. it ends up feeling like a backhanded compliment that i don't really know how to respond to.

until now.
i've thought about it for a while: she's not the lucky one, we are the lucky ones. little m is a gift that brings such joy and life to matt and i. sure, i grieve that she can't hear my voice saying "i love you" on a daily basis. but she gives me so much more than i give her.

i am so lucky. 
filled to the brim with gratitude that she is in my family.

(p.s. i should add that the last 9 months have been a constant reminder that i, myself, utter well meaning words all the freaking time that probably annoy, offend, or do absolutely nothing helpful to the person with whom i am speaking. so more than anything, i am learning to look at myself and my words...and trying to speak fewer, more carefully chosen ones.)


  1. It is funny (ironic) that you posted this today, because:
    -I just received the address of your blog today from Matt. and am checking it out for the first time.
    -I wrote that word for word in an e-mail to Matt when I heard about Monrovia's hearing loss.

    I cannot imagine how many people must have told you two this in the past 9 months. The truth is any child would be lucky to have you and Matt as parents. You two are wonderful.

    (Sorry about the chipper thing, I signed up with blogger to read a friends golf blog and...never mind)

  2. S, I am starting to wonder if we share a brain, just a little. :-) I have thought about these words so much in the past 17 months of Vivian's life.

    In my pre-mama days, I'd look at an amazing friend about to become a parent and would say or write in a baby shower card: Your baby is so lucky to be joining your family. I still say and write these words, and I mean them with all my heart.

    However, since having Viv, I am often on the other side of these words, as you are. For the most part, I take them for what they are. But there are times when it feels like someone's saying "thank goodness it's you, not me" or "...your child, not mine" or as you mentioned "I wouldn't be able to handle it." And that is when it feels a little ick.

    My sister is Buddhist and believes children choose their parents. I have friends who have a very firm belief in God and they believe he put our family together with a plan. I fall somewhere in between, depending on the day. I don't think that it is an accident Viv is our daughter - that is something I choose to believe. But, like you, I don't see Viv as lucky to have us as parents. Instead, I absolutely know she is here to teach me things - important things - about life that I wouldn't have learned without her just as she is - which to us, is absolute, joyful perfection.

    Hugs to Sweet Miss M.

    And so sorry I've taken over your blog by writing a novel. (I don't usually do that - clearly your post resonated with me!)

  3. Well put! We got that comment a lot, and even though I always took it as it was intended, it bothered me a bit. Hard to put into words exactly why...

  4. I love that you are so honest, Susannah. Others of us could learn to take off our mask and be more real.

  5. Well, she IS! Cuz no matter what, y'all were determined to love that little bug...I even like my parents and wish that you were mine :) And, by the way, being in the business of working with parents and kiddos in therapeutic (and some not so much) settings, it is not something I take for granted - that parents will be the best they can be regardless of the circumstances. I can't wait to see you in action some more soon. In the meantime, thank you for yer honesty and ongoing reflections. Besos y abrazos...

  6. So, from a therapist point of view- yes, all of my parents love their children but you would be very very surprised how many do not make the effort to research or get their children all of the services they need or even show up for appointments- I had 3 "no shows" today without even a phone call. Sooz, I know I have said that to you and it is because I know for a fact that you and Matt are making every effort to do what is right for Monrovia (yes, not all parents do!) From a mother's point of view- I completely agree that we are the lucky ones to be blessed with such awesome children!


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