Sunday, November 20, 2011

grateful for forest fires

(one of the friend card designs i've been working on.
i kind of love it.)

i'm sure i'll follow this up with a thanksgiving day post, but i am sitting here on my couch feeling grateful and at peace; the girls are both asleep, matt is out with a friend, and the house is still. i can rattle off a few things that i should probably be doing, but just sitting here seems just about right to me. i've kind of gotten out of the habit of posting regularly, and then when i come to this space i don't know where to start. 

there is so much to be thankful for. one of our family practices every night is to share the things we are thankful from the day. sometimes it is pulling teeth for m to share hers, and other times she shares throughout dinner. it is so easy to go through the day with constant low-grade complaints (here are some of mine: "i'm so tired, i have so much to do, my kids aren't napping, the girls woke up so early, etc etc) instead of gratitude being our go to.

this week i have been especially grateful for a by-product of m's deafness:
these women.
(katie, lisa, hannah, kelli + me)

each of us has a daughter with hearing loss. our worlds would almost certainly not have collided if we had not had children with hearing loss. and yet here i am, a few years into my daughter's journey and i don't know what i would do without them. 

m's school has monthly parent education meetings, and i remember one from last year very clearly. the teacher leading the meeting said that one of the defining things about the school is that for almost every parent who has a child at the school, that a school for the deaf is not somewhere they wanted to be or a place they ever thought they would be. there is an entire grief process about being there in the first place, so new parents look a little shell shocked and sad. and then, over time, it becomes a very special community and family. (at the same time, there is nowhere else the teachers and therapists want to be, which makes it a very special and welcoming place.) 

it's so true. i never would've predicted taking my baby to school at 7 months old, much less driving an hour to get there. i never dreamed, planned or anticipated being at a school for the deaf. but then i never thought my daughter would be born deaf either. 

we call ourselves the lemonade ladies. because what do you make with lemons, after all? these women have walked along a similar path to me, and have shared many of the same griefs, worries, and victories with their own daughters. and in their daughters, my own child has made friends. real friends who have little conversations of their own, and who try to dress for each other, and who ask about each other all the time. 

this morning matt was talking about forest fires; how they devastate and destroy everything in their path and that over time- slowly, ever so slowly, new growth comes. goodness and beauty emerges in a place you could never imagine new life sprouting. sometimes the destroyed places become even more whole and beautiful as a result of the fire. and so it has been with my daughter's deafness. that dark and empty place where the future was unknown is a part of who we are and where we have been, but these incredible relationships have been an unforeseen gift that has poked through the charred earth. 

in those moments of hearing loss grief that still happen and likely always will, i know that they get it- they have been on the same journey and they are my friends. and so here is to friendship. friendship that is birthed through loss and grief but that becomes something else entirely. so very grateful for the friends that make our worlds go round.


  1. Really? You must start posting a Kleenex Warning before these posts, friend!!!

    None of my words come close to describing what you so eloquently and perfectly wrote about our Lemonade Ladies. Except maybe, "Amen, Sister."

    (ever so) Thankful for you.

  2. 1. you ladies look beautiful!
    2. i was just realizing yesterday what an incredible singer, dancer, talker your daughter is. truly amazing. i love JWOSD.

  3. I have a good friend in her seventies who in her lifetime has lost both a husband and a child. And yet she has so much joy now. She is often reminding me that God does not waste our pain. Your post is another reminder to me of how God can create beauty out of what looks to us like bleakness. Thanks for your words!

  4. just to say i love your words and you too.

  5. so much gratitude in my heart for your words in this post, the fact that difficult circumstances led to crossing paths and the amazing LLs.


  6. PS LOVE the friend card. Thank you for including little previews on your blog since I don't get a chance to see them in person as often as I used to (wah!).


  7. thanks friends for your kind comments.

    amy- re: #1. thanks you- you should've seen our cute shoes!

    hannah- i'm TRYING to be better about posting sketches. i'll have some more up soon. ;)

  8. I *heart* this. We don't have that type of group around here, and it was so isolating when Nolan was born. Thank goodness for the internet!

    Also, I LOVE LOVE LOVE that card! It is just perfect!

  9. LOVE. everything about this. the card. the words. the wisdom behind the words. so true.

  10. so grateful we crossed paths! little did we know where we would be now. I'm so looking forward to our future!

  11. You ladies - each of you, all of you, every single one of you - are AMAZING!!!!!! I admire you and am so grateful that I get to have an office overlooking the playground where your little ones play every day!!!


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