Grief and Perspective


If you had told me Thursday night that I would walk out from Jaidan's kindergarten check up the next morning on the verge of tears, I would have thought you were crazy.  But when I walked out of that appointment around noon on Friday I was on  the verge of being a complete mess.

Jaidan completely failed his hearing test.  They gave it to him three different times -- the third time I actually left the room as I was afraid I was being a distraction.  That time he heard the first tone on each ear; he heard none of the others though.  Add to that the fact that we got some news that he has another issue that could eventually lead to surgery and you have a mom who walked out of the doctor's office struggling to hold back tears.

It's been a few days and I've calmed down.  I realize any number of things could've caused him to fail the hearing test.  He could have been excited because the word "kindergarten" was being tossed around.  He could have fluid on his ears or wax build up.  Or he could've just been being a little turd.  All weekend long I've been reminding myself that he never asks us to repeat ourselves, he doesn't turn the TV up super loud, and he just doesn't seem to have any problems hearing.  We're getting a referral to an ENT and whatever the problem is - if there is any problem at all - we'll take care of it.  He will be okay.

When we left the doctor on Friday, none of the other possibillities were on my mind.  All I could think about were hearing aids.  My baby needing something, something that everyone could see and possibly make fun of him for, to help him hear.  I think most of us, as parents, can agree that when it comes to the formitive years all we really want for our children is the blessing of being average.  We want them to blend in and have nothing about them that automatically makes them a target for (more) teasing and ridicule. 

For the five plus years I've been a parent, my children have been ridiculously healthy.  Sure, we've passed around snotty noses and there's been a stomach virus or two make the rounds in our home.  But we have only ever made one - one! - sick child visit to the doctor.  It's a blessing and while I realize this I also can't help but wonder if I've perhaps taken it for granted.  Because I was most definitely thrown for a loop when my kid failed his hearing test.  Three times.  And if I learned anything on Friday it's this: there's no such thing as minor when it's your own child.  I used to see people freak out about their child having their tonsils removed.  I would roll my eyes and scoff and think about all the people with children who have faced truly major surgeries.  I'll never do that again.  It doesn't matter if it's having tonsils removed or having something more important operated on . . . when it's your kid, it just seems major. 

I learned some news Saturday evening - news about a child that I don't even know personally - that left me heartbroken.  Anytime a mother has to say goodbye to her child, anytime a mother is left with empty arms it breaks my heart a little.  It's my greatest fear.  And while I was essentially freaking out (for lack of a better term) over something that could be nothing, another mother out there was making burial arrangements for her child.

It's not fair and I instantly felt guitly.  Friday after our doctor's appointment, I put on a happy face and took my kids to Chik Fil La but I was blinking back tears the whole time and my mind was spinning with the "what ifs."  I was in tears over a problem-that-might-not-be-a-problem.  But . . . I wasn't faced with truly devastating news.  I wasn't given a fatal prognosis for my child.  I wasn't faced with having to plan a funeral.  I feel guilty now, writing this, for even gaining a little perspective over someone else's pain.

It seems like every time we hear of a tragedy involving a child those of us who are parents are slower to anger, hug our babies a little tighter, are reminded of the little things we tend to take for granted.  And each time something like this happens I can't help but wonder how the mother of that child feels.  How does it make a mother feel when she's lost her child and that reminds other people to hug their babies a little tighter, to not take them so much for granted?  I can't help but feel guilty . . . guilty that I do take my little people and minor health concerns for granted.  And guilty that another parent's pain and grief gives me perspective.
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