Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rhyan and I were spending those precious last moments together before bedtime. Rhy had just closed the book we were reading, that included a section on a seeing-eye dog, when I asked her if she knew what it meant to be blind. She immediately told me that it meant someone can’t see. Then, without hesitation, I asked her if she knew what ‘deaf’ meant. As the words came out of my mouth, I wanted to pull them back in. This was something Matt and I had discussed several times, and the fact that I mentioned it without talking to him spiked my heartbeat. We are a unified front and I felt like I just knocked him out of one of the most important conversations of a life time.

The question hung in the air and my sweet little girl was just staring at me. She didn’t have any idea what ‘deaf’ meant. I carried on, still feeling a bit like I was betraying her daddy. I said to her, ‘Deaf is when someone can’t hear. Baby, you’re deaf.’

Rhyan processed that for a second and then said, ‘Oh! I used to be deaf. Because I can hear now.’ I explained that she is still deaf and will always be deaf, but the implant helps her hear. And then I told her that being deaf is something she should be proud of, and that we are proud of her. It’s a part of who she is and it’s part of what makes her so amazing.

Later that night, I told Matt what I done. He looked like he was replaying our past conversations in his head about how we don’t want to make her feel different. If she doesn’t realize she can’t hear, then why tell her. And in one instant, it was so clear. I didn’t want her to be 10 or 12 years old and have someone else tell her that she’s deaf. Or, worse, have a mean kid say it in an ugly way.

And ‘deaf’ is a beautiful word. It’s the word that brought me closer to my family. It’s the word that brought me closer to my Jesus. It’s the word that gave me purpose in this world. It’s the word that keeps me fighting for what’s right for my children. It’s the word that will set Rhyan apart to become one of the most phenomenal adults this world has ever seen. And we want her to know it.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thank you, again, for all the positive and supportive comments. It means so much to me to know you're all out there :)

As for Rhyan's Hope, we have assembled an amazing Board of Directors. They have all agreed to be members and I'm in the process of gathering facts and pictures to post on the website. I can't wait to introduce everyone to them. What a group of phenomenal people!!

Lots of love to you all.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Thank you so very much for your responses. They mean so much to me :)

After I received that woman's email, I was pretty frightened. I was told to call the police, file a restraining order and inform Rhyan's school of a threat. As all these thoughts were racing through my mind, along with thoughts of security systems and booby traps throughout the house, I received the following in an email from two separate people who didn't know anything about what I was feeling:

'The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.'

I love it when God uses the internet to talk directly to my heart.

Lots of love,

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I haven't blogged in so long because I'm at a loss for words. I received an email last week from a woman saying that I was killing the deaf culture with my decision to implant Rhyan. It had a very threatening tone and, quite honestly, I've been too angry to respond in a calm manner.

The bridge will never be completed between the two sides with the hate, disrespect and lack of compassion that I was exposed to. I will do whatever is in my power to have a calm, loving and open-minded debate with anyone regarding the deaf culture. But, from this point forward, I will not subject myself to that type of filth. Rhyan is my child. That's all that needs to be said.


Monday, May 12, 2008

I had just gotten off the phone with the home schooling people and dialed Matt’s number. I had it all planned out in my head. If we ordered the curriculum within the month, we’d save $50 on shipping. I was ready to pull the trigger and embark on a new life as a home schooling mama.

Every time I mentioned that I wanted to home school, others would ask me why. I know that the majority of the reason is because of my experience growing up. My life was a complete mess all throughout school. I was bullied, rejected and exposed to things I shouldn’t have been. And I refuse to have my child go through that. Bottom line. On top of that bottom line, however, is a whole other host of reasons that Rhyan is better off in my care. School shootings, crazy FCAT turmoil, mean girls, evolution, and on and on.

My credit card was out and I had Matt on the phone to get permission to use it. Just that easy. But, my ever-patient, non-spontaneous husband said ‘Let’s just wait a little while and see what happens. We have all summer to decide.’

That evening, we went to Rhyan’s first play. It was the play that tendered my heart just a little more. Three hearing impaired kids had speaking parts and it did everything to make me understand that Rhyan’s teacher this year, like her two teachers in the past, has done so much to alter her future for the better. When I got home that night, I immediately wrote Rhyan’s teacher and principal and told them exactly that. Mrs. Downs is the teacher of the year for all the right reasons. If only she would be Rhyan’s teacher forever….

So, last week we got a letter home saying that Mrs. Downs is looping up to 2nd grade. Rhyan will have the privilege of having Mrs. Downs as her teacher again next year, and our decision to home school is on hold. Thank you, Jesus, for answered prayers. Thank you, Lord, for such a clearly lit path. So many times, the answers aren’t so easy to see. It’s wonderful on those occasions when they are.

Today I talked with one of Rhyan’s hearing teachers and told her that we aren’t going to home school next year for obvious reasons. She asked me why it was so important to home school at all, and I gave her my litany of reasons stated above. She said that while I want Rhyan out of the school system so other children don’t influence her, she said she wants Rhyan in the school system to influence others. Wow. And in that one moment I was able to see the other side. I wasn’t strong in my faith as a child. I was timid and I simply flailed about searching for something to ground me. That’s not Rhyan.

Rhyan’s teacher continued to tell me of how Rhyan came to her and told her that a little boy was angry with her because she kept mentioning Jesus. And then she said, “I guess I’ll just have to wait until God talks to his heart.’

No, Rhyan is not me. And instead of taking her out of school system because of how it might change her, I need to see the limitless possibilities of how she will change it.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The door creaked open today to the end of my daughter’s innocence. We do our best as parents to barricade that door, knowing that one day we simply won’t have control. But today, the subject of her protection came up. Her safety.

She was watching the movie ‘Waterhorse’, and questioned what the soldiers were doing in the town of the main character. I explained that they were there, like our soldiers are overseas, to protect. “Protect from the bad men?” “Are the bad men dying?” Even harder to answer “Are the good men dying?”

These weren’t questions I was prepared to answer on the way home from picking up my first-grader. She’s talked about the planes flying into the buildings on 9/11. She understands that our American soldiers are protecting us from harm. But, I don’t think it occurred to her until today that actual real life people were involved. And it makes it all the more apparent that today will soon be followed by conversations about the girl that used a bad word, or the boy that made an obscene gesture. And a whole host of questions that will make my heart yearn to go back to the day before.

So, I take out “Waterhorse” and I put on “Diego”. She can ask me about Baby Jaguar all day long. For now, the door is closed again. But, I’m not sure the lock will ever work again.