“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
~ Mark Twain
The day that I found out my daughter was deaf was the day I figured out why in the world I was born. I mean, let’s face it, I was a total accident. Why do I think that? Well, it’s easy to figure out. I was born 1 year and 1 day after my sister was born. No one plans that – not in their right mind anyway. Thing is, I’m completely okay with being an accident, and I know there are plenty of people who are glad I accidentally made my way into this world. That’s enough for me.
However, I did spend years wondering why I was here. I think we all do. Some of us wonder longer than others, and fortunately, I figured it out early on since I started having kids at age 19. My daughter was born 4 months after my 21st birthday and just two short years later, I figured out why in the hell I’m on this planet. Kit, my daughter was just over 2-years-old when I found out she was deaf. A short year later she had mastoid implants put in so that she could use a hearing aide, and she was off to public school at the tender age of 3.
It’s this event that showed me why I was born. Let me preface what I’m about to tell you with the fact that at no time did I ever think my daughter was less because of her disability. I treated her like I treated everyone else in my life; she is important; she is capable; she is loved.
This base nature of mine to believe in those around me, and to treat them with dignity and respect, is the very reason I was so shocked when I witnessed how other deaf children were treated by their parents. Kit’s classmates (at least more of them than not) were treated like they were disabled. Now, I’m not saying ALL parents of ALL deaf children do this, but it is much more prevalent that one would like to believe.
These children were treated like they were less than they were. Treated like they weren’t as capable as a hearing person. Treated like they would have a hard time learning. Treated like second-class humans. And it showed. It showed in how they interacted with others. It showed in the absence of their smiles.
It was this that taught me I was here on this earth to lift others up. To believe in others so that they could achieve whatever they wanted to. To nurture others so that they gained self-confidence. To inspire others to reach beyond what they believe they are capable of.
And I can tell you, it’s amazing to know what role you play in this world. Once you figure it out, run with it.