Robert and I turn around to walk home after seeing Laura get on the bus. The other three littles are in pre-school and it is just the two of us holding hands and walking. I was reflecting on the conversation I just had with the bus driver. She was so excited about how much Robert was talking since having his BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid). He was waving and told her good bye with the biggest grin he could give. I spent a few minutes explaining his new BAHA and how it worked.
I am still amazed at how it vibrates the sound through his bone on his deaf side and into his inner ear in his good side. I left her with my usual joke that it definitely gives a new meaning to hearing voices in you head. Robert is so cute with his little velcro headband around his head that holds the BAHA behind his left ear. I realize most people don't see the box behind his ear and wonder why he is wearing a blue headband. Like maybe his sisters dressed him up that day.
Looking down at Robert as we walk very slowly down I enjoy this moment with him. I laugh out loud as we walk down the quiet street. This hearing tool is yet another way our family stands out. I absolutely welcome it with open arms and love my life just as it is. But I started thinking, I can hardly remember what it was like to blend in the crowd with nothing really that made me different. I grew up in the typical family of four. I had both parents and a younger brother. We were your average family which made things like eating out in a typical restaurant booth a breeze. We fit in your average size car and if we went on rides we could always pair up.
It wasn't until I realized at age 24 years old that I had celiac disease and could not eat gluten or wheat. Although life physically got better after the diagnosis I suddenly had a label attached to me. Something to put on forms at the doctors office and I became the person who made going out to eat complicated with my detailed orders and had restrictions on what I could eat at potlucks or family gatherings. I can remember many other things that God brought into my life that made me specifically His. I think it was learning to live with the food allergy that I really was able to digest having something that many people didn't know about and I often had to explain to those around me. I was known for it and even embraced it. I made blogs and websites to help others because when I found out I knew not one person who could relate. I was on my own to search labels at the grocery store and find out how I was going to adjust my social life.
Maybe God was using my allergy to gluten as a way for me to get comfortable being different. Maybe I have been able to practice owning who I am and learn to put my value in Christ and now worry so much about being the typical group. I definitely have had practice with fielding questions and comments. I have learned grace for others who don't understand the details and ask questions or make assumptions even if not intended to be harmful.
My life has been an example and a light into an area that many hadn't been exposed to. I can now see that is a theme God has used in molding my life. Now we are a - foster, adoptive, food allergy, five kids close in age, deaf/ hard of hearing, special needs, transracial- family and I love every bit of it.
I often think about how Robert will respond to his BAHA when he is older. Will he think nothing of it because he has had it for as long as he can remember? Will he go through a phase when he is embarrassed or regretful he has it? I think about how his childhood will be different because of it. Not bad, just different. He won't be able to spontaneously jump in the pool with his friends with out first taking it off so he doesn't damage it. He can't have the surgery until he is 5 or 6 years old and I wonder if he will start kindergarten with a headband or will he have it already surgically placed in his skull before he starts? Will he be comfortable talking about it to others?
I can teach my kids how to keep their hearts focused on Christ and know that He loves every little bit about who they are. I think back over the last few years and how I have been shaped in all this diversity and I have been able to get comfortable in who we are as a family so I can show a confidence to each of our kids for them to see in themselves. I look down at my little boy and thank God for this technology and for letting this little guy be my son!
How Great God has been to give me so much when I feel like I deserve so little. I smile because God is so more detailed in his plans for our lives and so often we don't see in the moment how it is a blessing for us and others. But I am so glad that I look back and see how God has been shaping my thoughts and attitudes on life so I can be a better Mother for my kids. Each aspect that make us different as individuals and as a family has been a blessing. They have brought me to a place where I needed God. Leaned on God. Sought after God's will. Prayed to God. And most of all brought God into my life and my Mothering.