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A Letter to Children Who Work Hard to Hear

To my daughter, Lexi, and all the children with cochlear implants or hearing aids like her…

"I SEE YOU..."

I see you working so hard every day. I see you beating deafness to live a mainstream life. I see you when you are sound asleep in a deep silent world, dreams probably as vivid as anyone can imagine. I see you when you wake up and put your “ears” together, batteries and all, then place devices on your head simply to hear and communicate. 

I see you when you blink several times because, at first in the quiet of the morning, the new sound is very loud until your brain adjusts. I see you working so hard to learn where the sound is coming from and locating it. 

I see you pause and give an inquisitive look when you don’t understand a word most kids your age naturally learned, and I understand it is because you have to be so intentional about language. I see you when you work so hard at thinking about hearing first, then thinking about the information received second. I see you pause to process new language because you had an unfair start and gap in hearing and speech. I see you smile when you overcome a very difficult test with vocabulary advanced for anyone your age…because I see how hard you work. 

I see you when you’re at practice for softball, basketball or swim. I see you reading the lips of the coach to validate what you “think” he is saying. And I see you watch everyone around you go first, so you can follow suit and make sure you understood the directions correctly. I see you listen through the loudest gyms and rooms and just try to keep up. I SEE YOU. 

I see you when you smile at the JOYFUL SOUND OF MUSIC. I see you when you are so THANKFUL for the gift of not only HEARING music, but also the ability to SING ALONG to that glorious sound most of us take for granted. 

I see you when you dance. There is nothing that fills my heart more than to hear you sing and see you dance. I saw you when you were a tiny baby and wouldn’t respond to my lullaby and everyone said you were fine. So to see you, now, dancing and singing, girl I SEE YOU!

I see you when you study for hours and hours longer than your classmates. I see you learning vocabulary for classes BEFORE a teacher gives a lecture in class, so it’s not the first time you’ve heard it. I see you studying for hours and hours and hours. 

I SEE YOU WORKING HARDER THAN ANYONE to prep for AN EXAM. I see you processing and underlining words in a question you may not understand. I SEE YOU. I see you taking more time so you can simply figure out what the question means before even attempting to answer it. I SEE YOU. 

I see you acting like you’re not completely exhausted at the end of the day from working so hard at listening…and just hanging in there as long as you can with everyone. 

I SEE YOU APPRECIATE LIFE at a level most of us will never understand because God gave many amazing people the special gift of helping the deaf and hard of hearing to HEAR. I see you appreciate the speech therapists who gave you the gift of spoken language because YOU WANT TO TALK LIKE YOUR PEERS.