Writing about my mothering experience as a foreigner raising bilingual and bicultural children, dealing with the system on behalf of my special needs son and navigating Chicago and the world with my kids.
Exactly one year ago, Pablo had surgery to get his cochlear implant. That same sentence, written in the future tense the day before he was going to be implanted sounded terrifying.
Let’s start with the topical “I don’t know where the last year went”. Or with “I can’t believe it has been one year already”. They may be overused, but absolutely true today. I guess I know where time went. Time went to therapy, lots of playing, repeating words one thousand times a week, splitting them in syllables, playing some more, traveling, getting used to carrying electronic devices on strollers, planes, handbags, cars and the likes.
Looking at the pictures, and talking with other parents who haven’t gone through it yet, I remember how scared I was of the operation itself. It took me a long time to agree to start the cochlear implant process. Taking huge decisions like this for others is not easy, but I haven’t regretted it one single day. I was scared of the surgery itself, of the general anesthesia, of having my happy, bubbly beautiful baby change into someone else, someone not as happy. Scared of it not working.
All those fears proved to be unfounded. As you can see in the pictures, he was my happy boy again already in our ride back home from the hospital. The three hours of surgery felt like three years to me, but he recovered amazingly well and was running around the same night of the surgery. There were no complications. He was upset for maybe half an hour, and that was it. The implant is working.
Now I have different fears. I am scared of losing the device (those things are not cheap to replace), of me not dedicating enough time to his recovery, of making the wrong decision regarding a second implant (I am still at a no), of choosing the wrong school for next year.
In the meanwhile, he has gone from saying mamá and agua pre implant to having a wider range of vocabulary, particularly if it concerns wheeled things, from being quiet to a constant choo choo chatter while he plays, from mamá to papá, Lucas, abuelos, Miguel, Ines, Natalia, and so many more that he is learning every day.
This whole process has helped me get to know my son better: he is resilient, generous, patient, stubborn, and has a high tolerance for therapy. He is bright, and lights my world every morning when he comes to my bed every morning. He is irresistible. He is strong. And now i know that no matter what, he will do well, even if his mom messes up in the way.
Pablo one hour after surgery, and on his way home from the hospital.