Friday, April 26, 2013

White Picket Fence by Billie Timmons

I remember dreaming of a beautiful little house with a white picket fence. I had dreams of being a wife and mother. In my dreams, I wore an apron and sent my children off to school with a sack lunch. I had fresh baked cookies and milk waiting for them when they returned home. I was "Super Mom". Boy was I in for a rude awakening!

It took me a while to find my husband. I searched for many years and finally gave up and let God handle it. I have learned over the years if I give everything to God from the beginning and just listen for His direction, He would not lead me wrong. I wished I had learned it earlier, but some of us are more stubborn than others, and we need more lessons. Many of those lessons have come through my children. Our first child, a son, was (and still is) a wonderful blessing. Such a good baby, he was. Slept good, ate good, cried very little. I couldn't wait to have another.

Our second little one came along, a girl, twenty-one months after my son. She too, was (and still is) a wonderful blessing. With her came challenges though. Challenges for which I didn't think I was prepared. At about seven months of age, I realized that my daughter wasn't responding to her name. I think I realized before then, but it was brought to my attention when she was seven months old by my sister. I guess I thought as long as no one else noticed, I could pretend everything was fine and dandy, but someone noticed.

My Abbi was diagnosed as being profoundly deaf. She heard nothing not even a chainsaw if it were cranked right beside her. My perfect world fell apart. I was devastated to say the least. My husband, in my opinion, seemed to not be too worried about it. In the midst of my devastation, I was also angry at him for acting like it was no big deal. In a matter of weeks, I realized that it was going to be up to me to deal with the situation. Over those first few weeks, I selfishly prayed and prayed for God to heal her, to give her hearing. I finally asked God to heal her if it was His will and if not, to give me the peace and strength to deal with it. I felt immediate peace and the strength came daily as needed.

So much for my white, picket-fence dream. I spent the following two and a half years in a whirlwind of therapy sessions. Three days a week, I carried her an hour away for therapy. Two days a week, someone came to our home for therapy. I was learning sign language and trying to teach it to my deaf daughter and my hearing son. Any free time I had was spent researching options, therapies, and finding out all that I could about deafness instead of baking cookies.

I did this on my own in the beginning. My husband didn't acknowledge her deafness. He didn't participate in her therapies, didn't ask questions, nor attempt to learn sign language. When I would cry, he'd tell me there was no need crying over it. I couldn't understand why he showed no emotion, so it made me angry. It was like his life didn't change, but mine did drastically. After about four months, I couldn't take it anymore. My anger had built up, and I needed to let it out. My husband caught the brunt of it, and I let him know how angry I was.

I don't know what all I said to him in the heat of the moment, but somewhere in amongst my screaming tantrum, I noticed he was crying. I stopped my rant and just watched him. Finally, he spoke. He said, "I know Abbi is deaf, but I have faith that God is going to heal her. She won't be deaf forever." My anger melted away, and my heart broke for him. I realized that moment that he was grieving, just like I was. He was devastated, just like I was. We were just dealing with it differently. I was dealing with it on the outside by doing everything I could to "fix" our situation. He was dealing with it on the inside while keeping his emotions in check on the outside.

For the first time, we sat down and cried together and talked about it. I told him I couldn't do it all by myself. I had faith just like he did that our Abbi would hear one day, but we couldn't set her on a shelf and wait until that day. The following morning, I walked into the living room, and he had my sign language book practicing some signs. I knew then we were in it together, and that life is not all about white picket fences!

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