Friday, April 17, 2009

Dear Seth - 9 months

Dear Seth,

Last night, I was sitting with you at Panera and a woman walked by, stopped in her tracks, and said "You are the cutest baby I have ever seen! You look just like my Bubby when he was your age!" She cooed over you for a few minutes, and then went on her way.

I took two things from that interaction. One, that way more people than I ever thought possible call their little boys some variation of "Bubba" or "Bubby", which is just weird. Weird, but true. We call you and Jace both Bubby ALL THE TIME and our next door neighbors call their son Bubby Lastname on a very regular basis. Before I had kids, that is one of the things that I would have thought was made up.

The second thing I gathered is that you really are the cutest baby ever. OK, I'll admit I'm biased, but seriously, you are the most beautiful little boy.

You're my fourth child and the first one to have my coloring. I was a blond baby with blue eyes, and when I married an Irishman with black hair and dark eyes, I thought it was all over for my recessive genes, but you have renewed hope in me that when people look at all my children, then won't turn to me and ask if I'm sure they belong to me.

Today, you're nine months old. You should be seven and a half months old today. A week ago yesterday, you were going through surgery to receive two of your very own cochlear implants, something that we didn't think would happen for you for a long time. Today, I was eating lunch with your great grandmother and talking about how I was so amazed by the greatness of God and the generosity of others in making your surgery a reality for us, and she looked at me and said "When Seth was first diagnosed, did you ever think that you'd get this far?" I thought about it, and I answered her truthfully, "Yes." From the very moment that the audiologist told me that you couldn't hear, I felt relieved. Relieved that I wasn't making it up, wasn't crazy. Relieved that you were just deaf. Happy that of all the things they said were wrong with you during your NICU stay (basically, everything), that we were making it out of there alive, with only hearing loss.

I started researching like crazy. Do we sign? Do we immerse you in Deaf Culture? Do we skip signing and go for cochlear implants? If we do that, do we go for two or settle for one? Those are very controversial questions for parents in our situation. But for me, I felt a great peace. We didn't need to choose a didn't have to be Deaf or deaf, a signing kid or a CI kid. You have always been Seth to me, and I'll use whatever tools in the toolbox work for you. I decided very early on that I wanted all the tools, and I set out to get them for you, just in case you needed them.

In my search for the tools for your toolbox, we began to meet the people that would change our lives, and yours. Erin, our sweet audiologist who opens her arms to you every times she sees you as if you were her own child. Barbara, the intern who has been there at almost every juncture of your journey from the very first ABR to your implant consult. Shelly, the amazing CI Audiologist who has been a shoulder for me more times than I can count. Your Early Steps coordinator, your pediatrician who came rushing out into the waiting room on you first post NICU visit, shouting "Where's my baby?" happily. Rosa and Nancy, our ASL instructors. The families from the support group that started just after your diagnosis, who have become like family to us, the people we can speak CI shorthand with. Andrea, Jillian, Dave, Debe, Randy, Jenny. Sarah, your amazing  speech therapist. Steve and Karin, the parents of your friend Summer, who I literally don't go a day without emailing about something or other. I'm forgetting others, I know.

All the people that we'd never met before you were born have become the figurative tools in your toolbox of life. That's not even counting the family and friends we already had...our immediate family, who never batted an eye at your deafness, who never once let it be anything negative. Our lovely friends, who immediately, moments after your diagnosis, began learning sign language and teaching it to their children so that by the time  you were signing, they'd be waiting to talk to you.

Then there was this blog. The people that have come together to lift you up has been amazing. I have gotten countless emails offering prayers, help, a shoulder to cry on or a brain to pick, Families who have been there. Families who are there. Families who might be heading where we have been that we can, in turn, help.

I could list your milestones at nine months. I could tell you about how you now have 4 teeth (2 on top, 2 on bottom), that you're sitting up unassisted, that you are so clingy that you resemble a Koala Bear attached to my hip. I could tell you that you weigh 18 pounds and that you are saying "Mama" to me, which I love. I could tell you that you have 17 days to go until your activation day.

But, while those are important things that I want to remember, there is something bigger still. I want you to remember the people you have in your life at 9 months of age. The people who have, in different ways and various capacities, come together to offer you the biggest and best toolbox imaginable. There is nothing we won't be able to offer you, if you need it. Because of the grace of God and a lot of effort on the parts of your family and all of the people I've mentioned here, you have received a huge gift, months early. The opportunity to hear. In both ears.

You are one blessed little boy, and man, do I ever love you.

Tomorrow, all the friends we know that live are able to come are going to join together to celebrate you and the awesomeness that is the ride we're all privileged enough to be on with you. It's going to be great.

I love you, Bubby.



Cheryl @ On the Old Path said...

Bubby is adorable I love his pictures. Again enjoy tomorrow night! Oh and on more then one occasion I have uttered Bub in reference to one of my little ones curious isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful post, and one day "Bubby" when you read this you'll be amazed at how many lives you have changed in just your pure existence. You better hug your mama and daddy and thank them for being such a strong and inspirational advocate for you.

Analiza bernat

Mommy3 said...

aw great post! He is very sweet. And he'll love having these words to look back on someday. I just posted a 20 month post for my little guy...not as good or in depth as yours...but it has some pics! LOL. You are such a good writer. Praying for you guys still.

M J said...

He really is beautiful! Ours are both girls, but they call each other "sister". I never thought of that because I never lived with my sis (she had already grown up and gone to college by the time our mom had me) but they do. All the time! :)

Anonymous said...

Happy 9 Month Birthday Seth! It is really weird, we have 3 boys and we call all 3 of them Bubba or Bubby, very strange.

Eva said...

He is beautiful... love his bright blue eyes.

E @ Scottsville said...

Awwww, what a great post!

He is beautiful and those blue eyes are amazing!

Shanda said...

So sweet! His eyes are so blue and expressive! Looking forward to more of this little life!

Emily said...

That is such a sweet letter. He is such a beautiful and blessed baby. I love his bright eyes and those chubby, kissable cheeks!

4 Lettre Words said...

Blessed, in deed, my friend!

And, yes. Sam is a bubba/bubby/bub, too! Luke is a Lou, so far. :o)

Love Mom said...

I thought the whole Bubby thing was a bit more local to well here; I never would have dreamed that it was such a common thing across Canada and the U.S.


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