When I was a pre-teenage girl growing up in the Suburbs of Detroit in the late 80s and early 90s, my life revolved around 2 things: Figure Skating and New Kids on The Block. I went to their concerts, with my parents patiently waiting in the "parent room" at Joe Louis Arena. I had the big buttons, the pillow cases, the t-shirts, and posters that covered my room. I loved them, especially the youngest member, Joey Joe McIntyre. I made mix-tapes on my pink sanio boom-box of all my favorite songs. I remember memorizing all the important facts that a girl would need to know about her favorite teen idol, like his birthday and favorite pizza topping.
25 years later, I'm a wife and Mom. I still appreciate their music (remember their reunion tour concert last year! I was there!), but it's the memories of a time where all was innocent that I cherish the most. I've continued to follow their solo careers, especially Joey's. And this weekend I learned of his little baby boy's severe hearing loss diagnosis. He spoke of his little boy's hearing aids, cochlear implant candidacy, and speech therapy appointments. My heart hurt for him and his family, remembering the uncertainty of the days of early diagnosis. So, I did what both a fan and a Mom with a little boy with a severe-profound hearing loss would do...I wrote him a letter.
Joe, if for some crazy reason you come across this blog post (I hope you do, because it means you found the loving and caring online community of parents with D/HOH kiddos), I hope you know that you are not alone. I hope you know that with early and proper intervention, your little boy will be able to listen and speak. I hope you know that while it may be scary right now, your little boy will be opening up your entire family to an incredible journey that may have some set backs, but has many, many joys. It will be hard, but never second guess your efforts with your boy. I hope you know that we as parents to children with hearing loss are here for one another. And we will be here for your family. Ask questions, follow your heart, and never stop talking (or singing!) to your son.