Today was the first day of kindergarten. Was she shy? Yes. Was she nervous? Yes. But, despite that, she handled herself incredibly well! I feel filled to overflowing with love for her as I think about the five years of life she has had. I am amazed at all the wonderful things she has accomplished despite the hardships she has faced.
In her first days - as it was confirmed that she had a moderately severe hearing loss, I remember being overcome with sadness....sad for all the things she would have to endure. The medical intervention, speech delays, learning to wear hearing aids, being teased for being different and the list goes on and on. While those things sound so simplistic, they aren't.
Here's a brief rundown: Mikaylah has had over 30 ear infections, four sets of ear tubes, two additional ear surgeries, one neck surgery, countless rounds of ear drops, antibiotics and ear cleanings. There have been uncountable trips to the audiologist. We fought for years with trying to get her to wear her hearing aids consistently - she constantly pulled them out. She was enrolled in early childhood special education at 9 months of age and began weekly interactions with a Deaf and Hard of Hearing teacher to help her realize the benefit of the hearing aids. She began riding the bus to special education classes at age 2 1/2...long before any parent should have to watch their child ride off to school. There she learned about her hearing aids, learned some basic speech concepts, learned some sign language and made some friends.
To see her today, in a classroom setting with her peers, she seemed no different than anyone else. Was I somehow thinking that something else would happen? She responded to directions, followed along and did all the things she needed to do. The teacher didn't single her out and talk in an obviously louder voice thereby drawing negative attention to her. No one told her to "try harder to hear". I realized today that all the nervousness that I had was based on my own experience with school...kindergarten and first grade were AWFUL for me. I was teased so mercilessly for wearing hearing aids and I have feared from day one that I found out about her hearing loss that she would be faced with that as well. To this day, those two years of my life still haunt me and I HATE wearing my hearing aids and I HATE thinking about what others think about them. What will I do if she comes home and tells me someone made fun of her? Will I be able to hide my breaking heart while I tell her that she is amazing and perfect and that NOTHING is wrong with her? I will always have these thoughts in the back of my mind, but today I am entertaining the thought that maybe things aren't going to be so bad for her?
The bottom line is that she had a great first day...I'm filled with emotions from pride and happiness to nervousness and fear. After seeing her today, I know that she IS going to do very well. I'm excited for the days and months ahead and can't wait to hear every wonderful detail of the friendships she's making and the things she's learning. I vow to tell her EVERY SINGLE day how much I love her, how great she is and how very proud I am to be her mother. I vow to be optimistic.