“Aren’t you scared?” I was asked recently, in reference to Q’s upcoming transition to Pre-K.
I had to pause. Our journey with Q has been rooted in fear for a few years now.
The unknowns alone are a fear, panic, and heart wrenching guilt that I’ll never be able to translate to a legible description in printed words.
The fear of more tests, more doctors, and more changes is a normal and healthy fear when you attempting to help shape, encourage, and grow a healthy little being into their own person.
No, Jim and I aren’t scared.
Q and I had a visit yesterday and I’ve never seen him light up more in a new environment. He was engaged, captivated, curious, and he was NOT scared.
It gave me a little hope that through it all Jim and I have hopefully gotten a few things right.
We are in the unique position where handing our child off to strangers is part of the ‘norm’.
We’ve held a terrified Q down for countless IV’s, seen a scared and confused kid be sedated constantly, and also handed off our prone, sedated, lifeless looking child to several strangers. That’s real fear, and that was terrifying to the core of my being.
Moments, fragments, and visions that will never ever leave my head, and that I see now and again when I look at him.
I thought I had known fear in my life.
Then came Q.
Fear has become a constant and unyielding friend in our lives the past fear years.
We battle fear daily, because fear has strength. It has teeth that dig in deep and jaws that refuse to free.
I’ve come to the realization that the teeth really never let up...but if you position yourself in the best way, prepare, and simply get stronger, than the jaws have less of a lasting grip, and that it gets easier every time.
The last few weeks, with Q’s daily progress, the fear has eased.
I’ve slept through the night a few times, and awoken with joy and excitement for the day.
We are still in constant ‘juggle’ mode trying to fit in appointments, emails, phone calls, services, doctors visits, and just the basics of living a life with jobs and families (which we are thankful for!) - that the fear is still present.
“Are we doing enough?”
”Should we have done this?”
“I forgot to put that on the calendar!”
”Why didn’t we know about this?”
”I didn’t have time to research this!”
And so much more.
The constant questions and the fluidity of change in our lives also makes us fearful when things seem ‘normal’ or ‘easy’. It’s like we’ve forgotten everything, or aren’t doing something we are supposed to be.
So, are we scared? No. No, no, no!
We had visited once before at UVM, nearly a month ago if my offhand memory is correct. When we came into the central area yesterday, Q looked around for a moment. He looked at me, grinned, and took off down a hallway. This center is a bit of a maze with many doors, many hallways, and more doors and stairs.
Q, without pause, went to the correct classroom immediately.
Jim and I see our son’s brilliance daily. All the little things he does, the wonder behind his sparkling eyes, and the concentration he has for so many things. The wheels turning as he learns and studies things.
Q has always been visual.
This was another level for me to experience. I had a vague idea, and recalled I would see the photos of the mentors/teachers outside of the door, but Q was drawn to this room.
It made an impression on him last time, and he was calm, curious, explorative, and relaxed. The nature of our lives with constant appointments, simply means the kid literally only goes to the doctor, the audiologist, the ENT, or therapies.
Fun is few and far between, and generally only in safe spaces or with friends and families we know, that are aware of Q’s being Deaf.
The welcome change of going somewhere for FUN has impacted our family in so many ways. Sleeping, I’ve mentioned - and boy is it wonderful!!!
The overall collective deep breath for all of us! Q has been a content child. He’s always been a happy kid, but there have been many frustrations due to the lack of communication, especially with travel and new places.
This in turns leads to better eating, sleeping, play, rest, and travel for all of us.
Seeing our beautiful child become stronger, building language (verbal and ASL) and erupting with new progress every day...it makes my heart hurt in the best of ways.
There have been many tears the past few years, but now we are into the joyful, relaxed, RELIEF, tear portion at the moment.
Q has learned most of the alphabet, and really only need’s H and the finite fingers for M, N, and T. He has learned to pound it, he is constantly babbling with different open vowel sounds and MANY consonate sounds of late.
He is listening, recognizing, reacting, and looking to an adult if he’s attempting something mildly naughty.
He has signed and verbally said NO to me (I laughed, I couldn’t help it!), and he is still our tornado of stardust and sunshine, constantly full of energy.
Scared? Not right now.
Joyous conquerors, we are at the moment.
Onward and upward, for our sweet and precious fella.