We are a few days away from the four year anniversary of Gianna's cochlear implant surgery. If you'd have told me that she'd be going to a parish school, with no interpreter, I'd have thought you were crazy. But, here we are.
I've been thinking a lot lately about limitations and about how they are not as concrete as they seem in those first, dark moments when they loom at us forbiddingly. If there is something I am slowly, slowly learning through this whole process of having children with differing abilities, it is that we should not say to our children, "No, you can't." Instead we ought to say, "Yes, you can try. I will help you." We thought that our daughter would not learn to speak, and we were honestly okay with that. But she went and did it anyways. No limits.
What a gift for her to know what it means to do something extraordinary in a most ordinary of ways, of the value of working at something difficult, of looking at a limit everyone else accepts and saying, "I will try."
Our parish, St. Gertrude's, has the sweetest little school and they have been incredibly welcoming and accommodating to Gianna and her special ears. I am so excited and nervous for her. Will the kids tease her? Will she be exhausted from working so hard to listen all day? Will she be able to hear her friends in the noisy cafeteria? Was this a good idea? Will she be sad to be the only Deaf kid?
But I remind myself. No limits. I. King Jordan, the first Deaf president of Gallaudet University, famously said, "A Deaf person can do anything a hearing person can do, except hear." And sometimes, they can even do that, too.