At the moment, my younger children are enjoying some balloons that my youngest daughter is sharing (dutifully) with her siblings. Our youngest son who tested profoundly deaf and is still in evaluation mode, awaiting an appointment with a new ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) doctor, is enjoying the loud “POP!” that the balloons make. It is a toss-up as to actually having the balloons in his hand or hearing the “pop” but losing the ability to have the balloon is most desirable to him. I enjoy his smiling and pointing to his ear to show me — he heard that! I am prayerful that his hearing and verbal communication will improve without cochlear implants. However, the opportunity for the cochlear implants is what I view to have been his ticket to his new home with us. He is learning to communicate with a few signs and now cued speech (as we learn as well); and enjoying life in a family setting at this point. I was dismayed that the route to the cochlear implants was going to take so long at first, with more hurdles than those we had already come through with his adoption. But I now see this time as a wonderful gift. Amazing how our perspective on things can really be so upside down! I imagine there are other gifts from God that I don’t really identify as such. Looking back I can discern some of them, but in the present, wrapped up in the here and now, I probably miss a lot. What will hindsight show us when this life is over. Will we be vastly surprised? I wonder.
Right now, we are moving through the hearing adventures, which incidently include the listening adventures. While I try to teach my youngest (add in some of the other kiddos, too) to listen, I am reminded that I need to slow down and do the same. Not just to the sounds of language, but the meanings and feelings behind them. As my kiddos struggle in speaking and listening better (some learning English at a later age having been adopted from another language; all who have the need/desire to express themselves and communicate well), I find I need to do better myself. Perhaps I take it for granted that I am being clear to them, or that I understand what they are trying to say. What is behind the very precise statements of my older children, or even the quietness? Should I speak my mind or just listen. I have always thought of myself as a good listener, but I am having to revisit that notion. We are learning (and making mistakes) together on this journey in the hearing (and listening) adventures. Was that the last balloon I just heard pop?