A few posts ago, I wrote how Jazzie had mentioned that she wishes she wasn't deaf. Even though I wish that Jazzie wouldn't have to face certain challenges, I cannot even imagine her not being deaf. Jazzie's hearing impairment makes her who she is. She would not be Jazzie without it. It is hard to imagine how different Jazzie would be had she been a hearing child. She may not have been so quiet and private. She may not have been as focused and observant. It's hard to say what part of her character is the way it is because she is deaf.
I can say however that my life would not be the same if Jazzie had not been deaf. I have learned so much about things I otherwise never would have bothered to learn anything about: how the ear works, cochlear implants and deaf culture. I never would have met some of the amazing doctors, therapists and teachers whom I have come to love. I never would have found some amazing friendships in other moms of children who are deaf and have a cochlear implants. The bond we share is very special and means a lot to me. They're the only ones who truly understand what it is like to have a child with hearing loss and a cochlear implant. Some of them I have known since we first came home with Jazzie. They have celebrated Jazzie's success right along with me and they have been there when I was scared and/or worried when things weren't going so smoothly.
I don't think I would have ever felt so driven to give back to a school that has done so much for Jazzie. I was extremely involved when Jazzie was at Ohio Valley Voices and I continue to be involved where I can. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Some of the things I was involved in forced me to step out of my comfort zone quite a bit, but I was willing to do it, all because of Jazzie and the school.
Having a deaf child has taught me to have more compassion, understanding and a stronger will to fight for what is right and fair. I have always been quite shy and reserved and it has been difficult for me to speak up for what I believe in. The need to advocate for Jazzie since she is too young to do it herself, has changed that. Hopefully that will also help with me teaching her to be her own advocate.
Having Jazzie has changed my life and her hearing impairment has enriched it in a way I never would have imagined. I wouldn't want it any other way...