Anyway, earlier this week, I went out to dinner with a group of people after a meeting for work. I was explaining to everyone how Sophie was doing and that she would be starting a program at an oral deaf school when a colleague asked, “What are your goals for Sophie?” I was dumbfounded. You see, I hardly ever get asked these types of questions. People usually ask how Sophie is doing, smile and nod, and become uncomfortable when my answers turn serious. Even close friends and family hardly ever ask me hard questions like that; they just want to hear the good things – all of the fluff. Not only did I immensely appreciate being asked that question; it really made me think. How do I convey my hopes and dreams for this special child? I muttered something about being mainstreamed at an early age (the best answer I could give in a crowded, noisy restaurant over food and drinks), but I thought about the question my entire drive home.The truth is, I have many goals for Sophie and for our family. I cannot define it in a single answer, so I began to make a list. I’m sure these goals will change as Sophie grows and flourishes, but these are my hopes today. Some are light and quirky, others are deep and heavy. Some are defined and others immeasurable. All are important:
· I hope that Sophie quickly learns to put her coil back on her head when it falls off. This will save me much frustration and near-car accidents as I reach back to fix it. (It’s a good thing my arms are freakishly long.)
· I hope Sophie enjoys going to school and begins to develop a great foundation of language, communication, and listening skills.
· I hope that she continues to excel in her language development and we are able to overcome hurdles and frustrations with positive outlook and minimal tears.
· I hope I am able to maintain the positive outlook that I occasionally struggle to keep as the years roll by and Sophie gets older.
· I hope that she continues to be a morning person like her Daddy and she too will soon be singing songs to me early in the morning, purposefully trying to annoy me.
· When Sophie realizes she is deaf, I hope she never feels ashamed or embarrassed. I want her to embrace it and understand how special she is. She has given our family a gift that we would never have received otherwise. A gift that is difficult to describe with words.
· I hope I am able to equip her with the self-esteem she needs to be able to face the world and achieve her dreams.
· I hope I can teach her to be her own advocate at a young age and she is able to soar through mainstream school with dignity and grace.
· I hope Sophie understands our decision for her to use cochlear implants, but is able to make her own decision about how she wants to communicate when she is old enough to understand the differences and what they mean for her in this world.
· I hope I can find the right words to say when she someday says, “I wish I wasn’t deaf.” And I hope I am able to say those words without tears streaming down my face.
· I hope Sophie is never defined by her hearing loss and is never held back because of it.
And finally, I hope I can hold up my end of the bargain and help Sophie and our family achieve all of these goals.