Abby squirmed on my lap as I tried to hold her still as the doctor and her assistant worked. “Shhh, shhhhhh…almost done,” I whispered. And for the first time…ever…in Abby’s life she heard me.
My daughter heard me whisper to her. She turned. She listened. She calmed.
I was heartbroken when we learned that Abby’s hearing loss was permanent. The realization that she had never heard me whisper tore through me. All of the nights I had spent walking the halls as she struggled against sickness, whispering in her ear, singing softly, and shhhhshing her never made it past her tiny ear canals. With every whispered “I love you” as I put her to bed, she saw my mouth move, but never heard the words.
I’ll never forget that simple moment in the doctor’s office as they monkeyed with her new hearing aids. The first time she turned towards me when I whispered in her ear. I won’t forget the first time her eyes lit up as she walked around and heard her own footsteps for the first time. She turns towards the sound of chirping birds and is overwhelmed by the loudness of her three brothers. She hears me now when I call her from across the room. We’ve turned down the TV to a level that doesn’t fill me full of rage.
It’s beautiful. And soon, I’m sure, the sounds that were missing for her to make sense of spoken language will come and I will have that rush of delight when I finally get to hear her call me ‘mom.’
If my life has shown me anything, it’s that the times that hurt, the times that were so low, make the great times SO MUCH greater. Waiting makes the rewards that much more sweet. Abby’s taught me to slow down a little bit, and to revel in every single thing- even the sound of my own footsteps.
Happy hearing, Abby.