Updated: May 15, 2020
The other day I was reminded why. Why I put everything aside and dedicate all I can to each individual I cross paths with who shares a common aspect with me. In this case that aspect is being deaf in the hearing world. Sometimes it's answering questions by email, other times it's meeting up with others to share my experience, and when I'm fortunate enough, it's babysitting young ones with a hearing loss.
At first we were just two girls who attended the same school - a kindergartner and a senior; 12 years apart in age. But when it comes down to it, age is no factor when we are sitting there talking about what it is like to wear hearing technology in school. Not only is age irrelevant, but so are the differences between our technology, for her it's hearing aids, and for me a cochlear implant and a CROS. All things aside, we are just two girls with a special and instant bond over one thing.
But it's also this now first grade girl who reminded me just the other day, why I dedicate my time to helping these individuals.
As I was babysitting this girl and her sister as I had done many times before, we sat down to do a craft. Unsure of what to make with the clay in front of us, this sweet girl speaks up and suggests that we make our hearing devices, put them on a key chain, and give them to one another. And so we did. But it didn't stop there. She made me my cochlear implant, and I made her hearing aid, but she wanted me to have her little clay device too.
We spent a couple hours that evening talking about our technology and what it's like to be deaf. We talked about silly comments we've been given, and the scary moments, we discussed the new hot topic of Joss the American Girl Doll and what that means for us. We went through scenarios of what we would do through certain situations regarding our hearing loss and advocacy. We shared 'me too' moments and laughed through the whole evening. This is a connection between a seven year old girl and a nineteen year old. This is the connection between two girls who are both deaf in the hearing world.
I walked away that night thinking back on the girl I'd first met. The kindergartner who was shy and quiet about her hearing aids and didn't discuss much of anything regarding them. This evening I watched this same girl, now a first grader who wanted our craft to be about our cochlear implant and hearing aids, and spent the whole evening initiating more conversations on this topic.
That night this girl reminded me why. It has never felt like a chore to help others in this capacity. I've spent most my life doing this because it's what I love and what I believe in. But it was also something I got used to and began to do mindlessly for so long. And because of that I forgot why, until this sweet little girl reminded me. She reminded me why my heart is as full as it is. She reminded me why I never want to stop helping others in these times. She reminded me why what I have done my whole life is still one of the most important things to me.
Because of this sweet girl, I remember why. And for those I cross paths with and those I have yet to cross paths with, I will never forget my personal why.