One morning in Rodanthe I walked with Henry. We collected shells and held hands.
It was windy that day, and the waves roared, but he didn’t hear them.
I wondered what that is like — not hearing the waves. What it is like to walk onto the beach and not hear the gulls cry, or the wind gust or the sea crash on the shore.
What is that silence like — you can feel the spray of the water, you can see it crest and watch it’s momentum heave it onto the ocean floor. You can watch the wave dissolve into soft, swirling foam. But you can’t hear it. You have never heard it. To you it is not a wonder. To you, is does not roar. It is a silent, sparkling, tangle of water. And to you, that is normal. I wondered what that silence is like.
And among all that wondering my mind found the place that is always there, but that I keep closed up most of the time. The long-hidden disquiet resurfaces, ever so slightly, every now and then.
Now, like I did when Henry was first diagnosed, I worry that he will feel isolated.
But I don’t think he does.
I worry that he will struggle.
But I don’t think he will.
I worry that he will regret what he doesn’t hear. That he will be angry that he doesn’t hear well.
But he is so wonderfully perfect, just how he is. I want him to grow up knowing that.
I worry that he will be teased, or taken advantage of. I worry that he will feel different.
I hope he won’t. But I don’t know…
What I know is this boy. I know he is happy. I know he is confident. (And he has the best freckles.) I know I love him.
And that part of him that doesn’t hear…it does not define him. But it is a piece of him. It is a piece of who he is.
A piece of my Henry. A piece of his wonderful.