"I am so sorry". Don't be.

Alex with cochlear implant

The other day I was having a conversation with a new friend. I was telling him about our Emma and Egor Signed Exact English series and he asked me what my inspiration was to start writing sign language books all those years ago. I explained about my deaf/hard of hearing daughter, Alexandra and the limited learning resources we had when she was a child. He looked at me sadly and said, “I am so sorry to hear about your daughter”. I paused before replying, saying “Don’t be sorry! The journey I have had with my daughter over the past 24 years has been one of the greatest opportunities any mother could share with her child”. I wanted to go on about the joys of raising my daughter, but I didn’t. I explained that just because Alexandra can’t hear doesn’t mean she isn’t perfectly designed to make an impact on the world with her perseverance and greatness.

I left this conversation wishing I had said much more than I did. The interaction stayed with me and I spent a great deal of time that day reflecting on how Alexandra’s differences have changed the way our family sees the world. We are multilingual, we tackle challenges head on and we are resilient.

I have heard the “I am sorry” comment multiple times throughout Alexandra’s 24 years and every time I want to express that the differences we see in ALL children is by perfect design. Think about how many young children are out their feeling isolated because they are viewed as “different”. Really? Aren’t we all?

The differences may not always be obvious but they are there in every person you meet; embrace who they are, identify with what you don’t know and embrace the challenge of learning from someone who experiences the world differently than you. There is a reason we are not all the same. So whether it is our physical abilities, mental abilities, social abilities, or economic abilities that separate us, each and every one of us need to remember…..we didn’t choose to enter this crazy world but we can choose how to live in it.

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