Living Up…

person on top of a hill

Have you ever thought to yourself-“Who am I to do or be…..” fill in the blank??

I recently had this thought as I was having some alone time a few weeks ago and it kind of started me thinking about the different times in my life I have felt inadequate or insufficient to be doing whatever was asked of me at the time.

In hindsight, each of these experiences came when I was unprepared or unqualified to perform the task at hand, but I have always been able to figure it out in the end…only to have another opportunity present itself to me.

I think this is kind of how life is though.

We face a challenge or obstacle…

We either figure out how to push through and learn from it or…

We find a way out of it or around it…

We learn a lesson from this experience…

We evolve and adapt…

We get “comfortable”

Only to have another challenge or obstacle arise again.

And it all starts over again.

I kind of think it’s magic though. It might seem maddening…and at times, I do feel, while I am in the thick of the learning or growing phase of this cycle that it just NEVER seems to end!

But, when I look back at the different opportunities I have had, once the painful learning/growing part is over, I have rarely felt like the experience wasn’t worth it in the end and that I didn’t come away from it a better person.

The biggest, most profound learning experience for me, has definitely been Motherhood. I have five children, and I can honestly say that each one has presented a different kind of challenge, obstacle, and learning experience for me.

The steepest learning curve of any of my children has by far been my second daughter, Bella, who happens to be Deaf.

We found out Bella was profoundly Deaf when she was 7 weeks old and at that time, we lived in a very rural area of the United States in the 4 corners. Because of this, the type of audiological testing she needed to have done was not available in our area.

I had to travel to be able to have this test done, and I chose to go to the closest major metropolitan area to me at that time, which was Salt Lake City, UT because I had friends there I knew I could stay with.

My husband traveled for his job at the time, and so I ended up making this trip on my own with my two children. One was Bella, who was 7 weeks old, and my oldest daughter was just over 2 years old.

You might be wondering, as I do now, Why on Earth would anyone want to do this without their Spouse/partner?!

Looking back, I think subconsciously, my husband and I felt that if he didn’t come with me, we couldn’t receive any serious news. Which, of course, is completely irrational thinking. But, you don’t always want to face reality when it is staring you in the face, and sometimes, you just need to be a little ignorant and naive to get you to keep moving forward.

So, of course, I go to the appointment by myself, with my tiny newborn and after about 3 hours of watching a little machine make squiggly lines on a graph that didn’t mean anything to me at the time, the audiologist delivered the news to me that my new baby was profoundly Deaf and was unable to hear anything.

Now, by this time, Bella had received about 6 or 7 different hearing tests, all of which she did not “pass”, and so my husband and I did feel like there was a high probability she had different hearing than the rest of us. But neither of us knew anything more than this, or what this meant. Again, I think we were both hoping we were just being a little extra paranoid.

Now, there are a lot of parents out there who have been in this exact same situation, and I can tell you now that I know no two parents who have had the same reaction to this kind of news.

I had no idea what I was supposed to do or feel, but by nature, I have a tendency to just keep going and not stop to think about how I think or feel in these moments.

I learned, from a very young age, that if I just keep moving, everything eventually works out in the end. And that I don’t have to process emotions. Which is my preferred method of dealing with stress. 😉

So, to me, at this time, I just wanted to know why, on Earth, God thought I was capable of raising a Deaf child. I remember driving away from that appointment and calling my husband to deliver the news, then calling my Mom and telling her I felt so honored to be gifted with such a human. Which I genuinely was.

But then I felt complete panic.

I had no idea what to do.

I had no idea where to go for help.

I had no idea how to even begin this journey.

I didn’t even really understand what this meant yet.

I don’t know if overwhelm is the right word to explain what I was feeling because that just doesn’t really seem adequate to explain the feelings and thoughts that you have after receiving this kind of news…

It kind of feels like an alarm goes off in your mind and you’re just trying to figure out where the alarm is and what the most urgent need is to deal with first. Except you don’t know what any of the needs are that need to be dealt with…or what the alarm is even for.

So, to say I felt inadequate is kind of an understatement.

I wish I could say that as the days, months, and years have passed (she is 14 now), I have found my footing on this journey of raising her and that it has gotten easier…..but that would not be 100% true.

Now, some aspects of figuring this out have gotten easier. But some have gotten harder.

Some days, I still feel completely inadequate and find myself asking-“Who am I to be responsible for raising this child?!”

Other days, I feel like I might not be completely messing this up.

But this is just how life is.

Sometimes it is amazing! We are confident in our abilities and knowledge and feel like we have it figured out.

Other times, we feel insufficient or incompetent, confused, angry or scared, and like nothing is going right.

This is what we like to call 50/50.

Life is sometimes amazing.

And sometimes it’s a hot mess.

It doesn’t have to mean that anything has gone wrong though.

It just means we are still alive.

The amazing part of this is that you get to decide how you want to handle each of these. But please don’t make either of them mean anything about your value as a human.

Because we all have things to learn. And we all have things to contribute.

We are all equally valuable.

We are all equally lovable.

We are all equally enough.

So no matter what you might be experiencing in life, just know that you are right on track.

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