Hey, Even Conservatives Need a Village.

George is the card-carrying Republican in our family. I fashion myself as more of a right-leaning Independent. Back in the day, before I met George, I was more liberal. However, after over a decade of elections, managing a family business, child rearing, and health issues….one of the left-leaning philosophies I remain faithful to is “It Takes a Village.”

Today, we celebrated my sweet Vincent’s 5th birthday party at our neighborhood pool. We had two uninterrupted hours of friends, family, swimming, food, cupcakes and a pinata to enjoy, plus take-home gifts of pirate treasure gift-boxes, eye patches, and swords.

I am so grateful for each and every person who came to celebrate with us. It wasn’t easy for everyone; one dear parent was recently diagnosed with cancer. Another travels to Korea for several months per year. Another is in the middle of a commercial fishing season. Still others just returned from vacation and others had spouses just leaving for business.

Each of these individuals is special and important, and they also make us feel special and important. They are our village. They come together, they show up, they respond, they come bearing smiles and good energy.

My Vincent has had a tough two weeks. He was recently diagnosed with childhood deafness and hearing loss. He has undergone testing, more testing, diagnosis, and x-rays. He has surgery, recovery, speech therapy, and a year of “catch up” ahead of him.

My little buddy fell asleep the other night next to me, holding my hand, tired from all of the appointments, confused, and asking questions.

“Why don’t people understand me?” “Do I talk funny?” “Why don’t I hear?”

I am so grateful to our friends and family—our village—who were able to spend Vincent’s 5th party birthday with us. All important, all special. We had a great morning together, and then G and I took the kids home to rest before returning to the pool for the late afternoon and evening.

So many friends and family are having a tough time. That these families responded and made it a priority—in spite of their circumstances—to come celebrate Vincent’s 5th birthday, means so unbelievably much. Thank you!

I love our village.

Eva!

My Sweet Pirate

Comments

  1. Always a pleasure to spend time with your family. I have many memories of our friendship growing up and I am happy to have our children make childhood memories together.

    • I always love and enjoy it, too. Our girls are growing up way too fast, and now Vincent and Fredy, too. I love that we have as much fun now and are as close as we were 33 years ago, husbands and children to boot! That is rare and special! Can’t wait to have you over for G’s 35th 45th birthday on Friday, lol!

  2. But….being human and dealing with life’s ups and downs has no political leanings! It’s life pure and simple.

    • Yes! That’s what I love about it. People come together, they care, they laugh, and talk, and share in the experience of life together. It just means everything, doesn’t it?!

    • It’s so true! Thank you again for coming to his birthday party. What a beautiful morning that turned out to be, and what fun. I loved that your entire family showed up, dad included! Your smiling faces are always a joy to see!! Also, looking forward to the latest issue of NF. I’ll check and see if G has it downstairs already! :)

  3. What a blessing family and friends are in our lives. I’m also grateful for ‘the village’. When our youngest was diagnosed with mild to moderate hearing loss in both ears (she was four) we were at a complete loss. We were blessed to connect with the New Mexico School for the Deaf and their outreach program soon after the diagnosis. I don’t know what we and Kate would have done without them! They have been there for us through it all, providing constant help, support and expertise. There are many daunting challenges children and families dealing with hearing loss face, especially when the child becomes school-aged. We’ve been so grateful for their help navigating them. I hope you find similar support for Vincent and your family where you live. If I can ever be of help answering a question, etc. I’d be happy to… Good luck to all of you. :)

    • Ah, thank you so much! Wow. This means a lot to me. What was the cause of your daughter’s hearing loss? What kind of treatment/care has she received? We have just started the process of ruling causes in and out, getting some hard numbers, and doing a lot of testing. It is so draining. I am just so glad Vincent is finally getting some help and that I am being listened to. This has been five years exactly of wondering, wondering, and worrying. So grateful to people who listen and help!

      • Yes, it is draining. :) Something you get used to…Kate’s hearing loss is sensorineural. It’s really hard to pinpoint what the cause was- we suspect it was a super high fever. She was just a baby when her brother got the chicken pox, and she had had the vaccine, but got the fever. There’s lots of guilt involved in a hearing loss diagnosis for parents, but it’s really pointless. What’s done is done. Kate’s hearing loss has remained stable- always the big worry every time she’s tested. Like you, I knew something wasn’t quite right. She even passed the school district’s hearing evaluation! Her speech was somewhat garbled (of course, we were the only ones who understood her!) and she often turned her head toward us and asked ‘What?’. Turns out she is a skilled lip reader! And very highly functioning. This year, they labeled her as twice exceptional, gifted and hard of hearing! She wears little pink hearing aides with blue swirly ear molds that she thinks are so cool! She functions very well in the regular school environment (when we can get the school and teachers to cooperate with us and make the necessary accommodations!). She has had a 504 plan. Now she will have an IEP, which carries a bit more weight, legally. When the diagnosis was first made, the school for the Deaf’s outreach program came out to the house every week and worked with her (and us). Awesome help. They would come and teach us to sign if we chose to do that- we’re just so busy… There are still deficits, such as knowing the meaning of a lot of words. It’s amazing what we learn/pick up just by hearing background conversations. She missed a lot of incidental language. She had never heard birds chirp before having hearing aides, never knew that water dripping made a sound, never knew the dryer had a buzzer! We have been lucky, however. Kate has an indomitable spirit! Sometimes she gets a little down about being different from everyone else, but most of the time she’s busy trying to make the best of things. I would say getting support from an agency like the School for the Deaf or other parent/child support groups like that with information and resources is vital. The outreach program from the New Mexico School for the Deaf was more help than any of the doctors. So is getting a really good audiologist that has a lot of experience working with kids (and school districts, if possible). The next thing I would suggest is to start familiarizing yourself with the law as it relates to the rights of the hearing impaired (for school) and with all of the technology available. Forewarned is forearmed. :)

        • Thank you so muc for this amazing information and for sharing your experience. I am grateful! I love the image of little pink hearing aides. I’d have gone the same route! :) Like you, I knew something wasn’t right from the time Vincent was born and did not pass his newborn hearing test, to when he did not babble as an infant (although he smiled all the time!), and then struggled to form words later on.

          Yet, he flew under the radar, including a speech evaluation we did at the neurocenter. Wow. For five years I told the doctors that something didn’t seem quite right. Looking back now, the doctors say that with his one ear that does not work well and one that works better, he was able to get by with the one “good” ear and people attributed his speech (“garbled” is a word they recently used with us as well) to being young and encouraged us to “give it time.”

          The audiologist has referred me to the public school programs; we are going to put Vincent in private kindergarten this year, but he still has access to the public school programs (Eva goes to public school). He has a surgery scheduled for later in September which we hope will open up some blockage and get him off to a good start. Then it’s kind of wait-and-see.

          Really interesting about the deficits, such as knowing the meaning of words. That sounds very familiar. And they warned us that following surgery, Vincent might even feel frightened at the new sounds he hears, like chirping birds or heater vents. One thing he always does is cover his ears and even try to hide when he hears terribly loud noises like chainsaws. We never could figure out why. Now we know that because he isn’t hearing the softer noises, when he hears something especially loud, there’s no “warning” and therefore very startling.

          Thank you again for being so open and honest about your daughter and for all of your helpful advice and experience. It makes everything so much better and less scary!

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