I wasn’t so lucky. I had known that when we let him go it would happen but I still wasn’t prepared. I don’t think you can be really prepared but for me it was particularly hard. As the mother of a deafie I had, until boarding school in another country intervened, had quite a lot to do with B’s everything. Years of IEPs and a personal relationship with his Itinerant Teacher meant not a lot slipped past me. Now I wouldn’t even know who his teachers were, the kids in his class, what he was really up to when he said he was going for a bike ride.
B, unlike his brother, isn’t a talker so to understand what he was/is feeling you have to use non verbal clues, clues I wasn’t going to be able to see everyday anymore. I was going to have to learn to rely on his teachers, housemaster, my sister and mother and try and get B to open up via the internet sometimes. They, especially my mother and sister, were going to have to learn to see the clues, pick the changes in behaviour and learn to relate them to things that were going on in Bs life, things he wasn’t going to openly tell anyone about. This wasn’t and still isn’t easy as B, like many deafies, has a thick exterior that exudes hakuna matata , a protective shell that shields him from a judgemental society overly dependent on labels and from the fact he knows he is missing out, he is spending a lot of time guessing and is constantly scanning our non verbal cues to figure out what we are saying.
He did it, he made it all the way through school and whether or not he manages to make it through his chosen tertiary course he should be proud of how far he has come. People often comment that B doesn’t behave deaf and he doesn’t. He is confident, self assured and worldly wise. He manages airports with ease and new situations with poise. Every time we see him he is more grown up, we see a new B, an evolved B. My dad once told me that we wouldn’t know how good a job we had done of our parenting until our kids were independent adults, people we wanted to know, people we chose to be around, so I guess we did do a good job...whew!!!