Monday, December 8, 2008

Keeping up with the Joneses

A recent post on one of my favorite resources and list-serves really touched my heart. A Mom posted her frustrations on just how hard the holidays and keeping up with everything with her little boy this time of the year is, and it really hit home with our family.

My family is fortunate enough to live in a really beautiful neighborhood in an affluent area. In our area, we are so lucky to have access to many different activities and classes for the toddler-preschool set. There was a time, not too long ago, that I thought my kid was the only kid not going to a tri-weekly music class, or that we were the only family without a membership to a toddler gym. The truth of the matter is that with typically hearing and developing kids, your choices and options are endless. However, if you have a kid who maybe isn't typically developing (or hearing in our case), you tend to run into road blocks. For us, access has never been a roadblock, thanks to programs in our area that are specifically for kids with hearing loss. The road block that I usually encountered was myself, and the feeling that I had to keep up with the other families in our neighborhood.

It was so hard, especially last year prior to Christian's implant, hearing all these parents talking about taking their kids to holiday sing-alongs and Christmas puppet shows. I WANTED TO DO THAT! My little guy couldn't hear my voice, let alone the sound of bells jingling. And I beat myself up over it. I felt bad for myself, and for him. I remember driving to the mall one night sobbing listening to Little Drummer Boy thinking how Christian would never hear that song. It made the holidays really, really hard.

I got out of that funk last year by just saying "screw it", and we did what we wanted to do as family. We did the holiday activities that we knew Christian would love, like going to see beautiful light shows at night, and going to see a Santa that signed.

Fast forward to this year, and it's a totally different story. Christian's implant has made it incredibly easier to access many of the "typical" activities, but there's something else... I have this amazing group of friends here in the neighborhood that have taught me to forget the Joneses. They embrace my kid and my family for who we are, and are always sensitive to our different needs. They never ever make me feel like an outsider, despite our "different" situation.

I think it's so important as a parent to a kid with hearing loss to honestly just forget about what all the "other" parents and families do, and just do what is good for your kid and family. As much as we want to give our children a "typical" childhood and experience, we need to keep our sanity. I decided to let Christian lead the way. And I'm thankful for my girlfriends here in the neighborhood who embrace him, and our atypical situation.

The Margarita Mommas who keep me sane...even when I'm fat and preggers.

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