Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thankful for Family Support

I'll write a complete Thanksgiving recap, including some details on Christian's language explosion that has occurred over the past week, a bit later. For now, I wanted to share my thoughts on family support, and how essential I believe it is to the success of not just the child with a Cochlear Implant, but also his parents.

I've always loved how my parents have completely jumped in the role of "Super Grandparents". Both my Mom and Dad absolutely adore him. They spoil him rotten with love (and lots of toys), and make every effort to make sure he is comfy in their house, and is always happy. I love watching how my Dad will roll around on the floor with my little guy. He likes to take him to breakfast, and they have their own little games. Christian absolutely adores his Papa too...I think he thinks that my Dad is a toy! And when it comes to Nana, he knows that she's the one who will kiss him all over and make sure he has more than enough treats. She always makes sure that he is warm and cozy, makes his favorite foods, and literally would walk on water for my little man. It is so very hard living so far away from them.

What I think is so amazing is how supportive both my Mom and Dad have been from day one with everything that we have had to deal with. They have let Chuck and I lead the way as far as what we want for our son, praising us, and cheering us along as we do whatever we have to do. They've supported our therapy decisions. Not once have they ever questioned our methods or techniques. They just always ask "How can we help?". They ask us questions, but somehow, always let us be the experts, trusting our judgement. When Chuck and I were at our low points, they would just let us know that they would do whatever we needed them to do, and they have. They've become very interested in deaf culture, researching and trying to understand how our family fits in, and have even taken ASL classes.

When I'm having a hard day breaking through to Christian, my Dad always is able to remind me just how great of a kid Christian is (and a Mom I am). And when I call my Mom and just sigh, she somehow knows exactly what I am trying to say and just says "I know...". They have found a really interesting balance between treating my child just like a regular kid, while also paying attention to the little things that are particular to his situation. It's these little things (like remembering to turn down the music/tv, or signing to him while he takes a bath) that make our lives as his parents easier.

I know many parents of children with hearing loss read our blog, and I know that some grandparents and other family members of children with hearing loss sometimes log-on. Whatever your roll in your family, I urge you to support the choices, methods, and therapy decisions that the parents make. Remember to cheer along not just the child with the hearing loss, but also his parents.


Amy said...

Another amazing post! My husband and I attended a "deaf camp" at Illinois School for the Deaf shortly after Luke was born and we heard terrible stories from other "normal" families about how their parents turned on all their decisions they made for their children. Some even going as far as to say, "we won't talk deaf" (meaning learning ASL). This post reminds me that we are so lucky, as are you, that we (and our children) have parents and grandparents who will stand right next to us and truly try to learn how to help our children! My parents, my sister, brother-in-law and even my aunt are taking weekly ASL classes and all of us know how to talk, play and interact with Luke to promote his speech and language development (they can even trouble shoot his CI!)

Thank you for reminding me that my husband and I certainly aren't in this by ourselves!!!

Here's hoping you had a blessed Thanksgiving!

MB said...

Can I borrow your parents? They sound incredible.

Mari's grandmother LOST HER over Thanksgiving (and best of all didn't even notice). She also calls us at least once a week to tell us we're doing EVERYTHING wrong, including everything having to do with her deafness. My parents pretty much stay out of it but don't really provide any support either.


leahlefler said...

This one makes me a little teary-eyed, because our family is so very far away. My heart aches to have a grandma or grandpa to play with the boys on a regular basis! There is some tension from my in-laws on the use of any sign language (they're against it), but luckily my parents are on board with what we've chosen to do. Nolan speaks well and signs well (as well as a 15 month old can speak and sign) and hopefully his gentle spirit will cause them to relax about the signing thing and even learn some!

Christian's Mommy said...

Amy-Sometimes I think we DO think we are all alone in this journey. That's why it's so helpful to have family that will back you up. Thank goodness for our parents!

Monica-Well, you are more than welcome to borrow my Mom anytime she is in town...in fact, I know she reads your blog :)

Leah-When I wrote this blog, I cried the whole time. My folks live over 500 miles away, and not a day goes by where I don't wish that I could just pop on over their house, or have them here for dinner. I know they feel the same way too...I know if we lived closer, they would be even more of a part of our lives than what they are. Regarding the signing, believe me, I know how you feel :) Hang in there....

AJ's Mom said...

This post hit home....:( We're in the same boat as Leah. Anyhow, what a great way to say thank you to your parents. Kudos to your parents for being so involved with Christian even though they are so far away :)

Lucas'Mommy said...

Great post, and a reminder about how much I have to be thankful for in my parents too. I almost felt like I was reading about my own story. I need to go and thank them again RIGHT NOW!!!