One year ago today, Seth was an eight month old deaf baby. But on this day last year, we woke up insanely early and used the valet parking at the hospital and we headed in to register Seth for cochlear implant surgery.
Even though he hadn't been able to eat since the night before, he was smily, happy, and sweet, as usual. I, on the other hand, was pretty much a nervous wreck, a crazy mixture of excited and scared to death.
I was the only one allowed in the surgery prep area with him, and a big part of me was convinced that I would never see him again after I handed him off the the very nice anesthesiologist. I tend to worry about extremes, if you hadn't noticed. But just about two hours later we were handed out bandaged and bruised baby boy, who was the proud owner of two of his very own cochlear implants.
We went though several surgery complications afterward, but that day? That day just felt like victory, like God had reached right down and granted a wish I thought might never be granted, a tangible technological way for my son to hear me tell him I loved him.
And one year later, here we are. He is such a typical kid in so many ways that I didn't even remember that this was the one year anniversary of his surgery until I was doing the carpool shuffle this morning. I immediately started bawling for some odd reason, and that was weird. But it hit me all at once...he's had his implants longer than he went without them. He has been a kid with cochlear implants for an entire year.
And he's awesome. He loves his ears. Or he doesn't, depending on the moment. When he wants to prove a point or make sure I know he's super mad at me, he takes them off very deliberately, drops them in my lap, and stalks away. When he's happy and a magnet comes off, he reaches back anxiously to try to get that baby back on his head.
He's a happy, clingy (he wouldn't let me take a single picture of him with a pleasant expression on his face today unless he was in my lap...so ignore me please, they're supposed to be just him), funny, tenacious, stubborn little boy. Half the time in speech therapy he rolls his eyes at us when we ask him to say a simple word, yet in physical therapy, he drops a ball under a bench and screams "It went under!" excitedly. It is infuriating and exhilarating all at once.
I love all of my children with a heart wrenching, forever and ever amen kind of love. But Seth and I have a special connection. He was so sick for so long, and then he had so many issues. We are a team. He was the first baby to look like me, the first baby to choose me over everyone else. Sometimes I think part of the reason he's so stubborn about talking is that he and I have a kind of shorthand, and we find ourselves communicating in looks and eyebrow raises, a quick frowns or smiles, shrugs. He is the least frustrated one and a half year old I have ever seen.
This year was a testament to God's grace, to his faithfulness, to his love for us. Seth, and we are so incredibly blessed. Today we didn't do anything special...we played on the floor with cars and trucks and balls and blocks and animals...we vroomed and mooed and sang The Wheels on the Bus about thirty times. We knocked over towers and rebuilt them, counting and yelling "Down!" and "Up!"
We had a hearing day. And that's pretty awesome.