i know i've already posted about the end of m's school, and then- surprise!- the real end of school, since she had three weeks of summer "camp" (ahem, it's exactly the same as school, my friends, but it's in the summer and you bring your own snack- hence "camp") before her very, very last day.
so feel free to skip this post, and wait for my (yes- they are coming! promise!) final posts about our trip to oregon. somehow life went on fast forward the second we got home and haven't quite gotten to uploading those pictures and putting them on here. i live under the delusion that i am a master multi-tasker and can whip things out in just a few minutes, but then i remember that no, not really; i'm slow, and it takes me forever to get things done, especially when it involves a blog post.
last week i potentially realized why i need to process this transition ad-nauseam. when i was growing up, i happened to switch schools a lot- the combination of my family moving multiple times and changing from private to public to private to public schools meant that i changed schools in 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th grade. not my favorite to be the new kid, and i'm sure it has contributed to my need to fully process transitions along the way. or maybe not. who knows.
you may remember me writing about the first time we went to jwposd. matt and i walked into a classroom of some of the older kids- deaf kids who were about to transition to kindergarten or first grade- holding our itty bitty two month old baby. at the time i don't think i'd ever seen anyone wearing a cochlear implant that i could recall. this cute, vivacious little munchkin, mia, with bilateral implants, walked right up to us and our baby. "hi. i'm mia. is your baby deaf?" no one had asked me that yet. i was at the point where i could hardly say deaf without crying, and just being at a deaf school was super emotional. this chatty little deaf girl, happy as could be, was apparently obsessed with babies, so she asked us all of these questions about m, and talked us up for a few minutes. it was this moment in time where i saw this glimpse of the future- a few years out when my little girl would be thriving.
my girl is thriving.
her favorite spot, standing next to one of her favorite people, her "sister" lily in morning music the last week of school:
(or "the deaf moms" as matt calls us, even though our kids have ranges of hearing loss. we all started together when our little ones were babies and toddlers!)
one of my favorite things is talking to newly diagnosed families. often i meet them when they are on their tour of the school, still somewhat shellshocked to have a child with hearing loss. i love talking to them because i remember how it felt to first be at jwposd, to be struggling to wrestle hearing aids and later implants on a feisty baby, to feel unsure of what the future held.
the last week of school i met a couple of new families touring with babies. one mom was holding her profoundly deaf five month old baby boy in her arms, his teeny hearing aids pressed into his even tinier ears. i'd finished talking to her, and she'd walked down the hallway to see more of the school and to meet other parents.
m had just gotten out of class and was running down to get her things out of her cubby when she spotted the baby. she raced down the hall to be and said, "mom! i see that baby with hearing aids!" sometimes she gets shy with new people, but i could tell she wanted to go meet him and his mom. (she is currently fascinated by meeting new people who are just like her- meaning that they are deaf and either younger or older than she is) so i said, "you should go down and ask his mommy what his name is!" she turned, skipped down the hallway and went right up to the mom. (later she told me, "mom, i had to be very patient and keep saying excuse me because those moms were really talking a lot") she introduced herself and talked to the new mom about her baby. the mom said, "see? he has hearing aids!" and my 4 year old girl flipped her hair back, struck a pose, and proud as could be announced, "well, i have cochlear implants!" before turning to go play with her friends.
i thought back to that moment, four years ago, when mia, talking to our little deaf baby, gave me a vision of what could be. i thought about how this season at jwposd had brought us full circle.
someday i will wonder how i drove so far for so many days a week for so long. someday that five month old baby that m bounded up to will be the little boy talking to new parents, showing off his implants. someday i will sit on an alumni parent panel passing along our family's victories and griefs.
my daughter will be all grown up,
and will be sharing her very own story in her very own strong and beautiful voice.
in many ways, she already is.