Wow. It's really been two years. Two years since the boy had his big surgery. Two years since we finished pushing and fighting and begging for early implantation and started living it out. It's been a crazy two years.
Here is last year's post about Seth's first annual Bionic Birthday. And here is a link to the big Surgery Day post.
What a two years it has been. You'll have to forgive the huge amount of pictures in this post...I got started and I couldn't stop. In some ways, this day feels like a real birth day...the day he was born was so scary and he was so sick and the next several months were a blur of doctor's appointments and diagnoses and being sick and working towards this day. So when it happened...it was big, and it was the start of Seth's new life.
Seth has done everything in his own time, but what he always does well is hear. It's amazing to see him respond to his siblings or an airplane in the sky, and my heart still melts when I see him smile when I call his name. In many ways, our work really just began on activation day, and sometimes it's been rocky. But every bit of the work has been worth it to see the way Seth has grown and blossomed in the last two years.
Seth's implants have changed his life, all of our lives. It's been a blessing to get to watch him as he's grown. His implants are so much a part of him I catch myself feeling around on Evany's head for her implant sites before I realize that she doesn't actually have any. I was so scared about whether feeling his implants would be strange or people would treat him differently because he wears processors on his head, but Seth is Seth and that's all there is to it. He is who he is, and his implants are part of him.
I can't believe that Seth has been hearing for well over twice as long as he was deaf. Of course he'll always be deaf, but as he's grown I can see how much he identifies with being a hearing kid. Seeing him ask for his ears in the morning and wear them all day long shows me that he loves hearing life go on around him.
Seth's first hearing year was amazing. But his second has been just phenomenal. He has grown even more comfortable with his processors and started school this year at a preschool with completely typical kids. When I asked his teacher if he fit in okay, she told me that he was just like the other kids in class, but a much better listener. That was basically the best compliment I could have hoped for for Seth.
Of course Seth is the most stubborn kid in the world, and he doesn't always (or seemingly ever, sometimes) cooperate. He has delays. He has struggles with his speech and his gross motor skills. But his struggles aren't due to his hearing, and if he catches up or doesn't catch up, I don't care as long as he continues to be able to live a life that is complete and fulfilling. So far he's doing a great job of that, and I couldn't be more proud of him.
Regardless of what happens in Seth's life, i will never forget what a blessing this gift of hearing has been for him.
It's been a good two years for Seth and his ears, and I know we will have many more. We have been so blessed with a great relationship with his implant company, Advanced Bionics, and I couldn't ask for better people to work with keeping Seth hearing and all his equipment working. With a crazy two year old, it can be a tough job, and they have done an amazing job of keeping up with him.
I love you, Seth, and I love your ears! Happy 2nd Bionic Birthday!