Sunday, November 8, 2009

Home again!

Did you know it takes a long time to get from Florida to California?

It does. I always forget that. And for some reason, it always takes longer to get back home from California to Florida. By the end of my second flight today I was ready to be done flying for a while, which works out well, since I definitely will not be jetting off anywhere else until this baby is born!

The kids did great while I was away and were super excited to see me (and I them, of course) when I got back, and we just finished some cuddling and hair salon before bed.Seth was very snuggly tonight and gave me lots of bear hugs. It was very, very nice to get home. Although I love getting to go back to "work" in some capacity every so often and talk about important things with grown ups, the second I get home to my kids I realize that raising them is what I'm meant to be doing, no matter how tedious and difficult it can be. They are such special kids and we are so, so, blessed to have them. I came home to no less than four special welcome home drawings and a baby boy who is saying a new word (bike). Little kids are awesome.

My brain is completely overflowing with things I learned over the weekend...I am so excited to be a part of everything Advanced Bionics is doing right now and I am thrilled to see some of the newest research and independent studies showing just how well people with Advanced Bionics implants are hearing. It's really, really amazing and such a miracle. When I'm not falling over from exhaustion I hope I can string together more than one paragraph about it, but it's definitely not happening tonight.

The coolest thing by far, though, was that this weekend, there were a lot of strangers that came together to talk about how cochlear implants have changed their lives. I met recipients, I met other people touched by hearing loss who have decided to make helping people get cochlear implants their full time job.

It was awesome.

I stood in a crowded, loud restaurant and talked with adults who had cochlear implants who heard and understood me easily. That's something we never thought Seth would be able to do. I met a two year old who knows over fifteen hundred words. I talked with parents whose kids are on the honor roll, who are reading a several years above their grade level, who play soccer and karate and baseball, who all go to mainstreamed school. I talked to adults who told me what speech sounded like before their hearing and how it sounds now...and believe it or not, the answer is "pretty much the same!" I talked to a woman who spent her entire adult life without sound, unable to hear her kids at recitals or in the marching band, who can hear them now. I talked with the President of the company, and with the engineers who design Seth's implants. I talked to the people in charge of developing new products, who listened to us tell them all the things we want them to keep the same, or change, or make better.

When Seth broke one of the components of his processor on Saturday, and my mom called to tell me while I was chatting with the Vice President of Marketing, he made sure that before I left I had a replacement in my bag so that Seth wouldn't have to wait to have it shipped out on Monday. Only after I had the part did I find out that someone else who worked at the company had driven to another city on a Saturday to get the part we needed.

The common denominator of all of those interactions? Every single one of those people, whether they were AB employees, recipients, or parents, felt like a friend. By the end of the weekend I knew personal details about every single one of them (and more than I needed to know about a few! =P), and I would count them all among my friends.

I love this company. I am so, so glad that Seth is a part of the Advanced Bionics team.

OK. Now I have to go to bed. After I go find them all on facebook.
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