Sunday, February 6, 2011


Aiden's typical hide-and-seek crew.

My husband comes from a big family (12 kids in all), most of whom live in the same vicinity. Many siblings, means a lot of cousins, 19 (plus one on the way) grandkids in all, ages 1 through 16. A huge family also means big family gatherings, even on simple nights of just a few of us getting together at mom's for pizza and letting the kids play.

I love this family. I love the family gatherings, the way all the cousins get along, the way there is someone for everyone and no one is ever left out. I love the noise all the kids make laughing and running around like crazy, from the older ones running in and out to the younger ones running around to see where the best place to hide is in their ritual game of hide and seek. I love their bonds.

When we found out Aiden was deaf, one of my biggest worries was how he would communicate with extended family and how much he was going to miss out on. There was no doubt his cousins would accept him for who he was and treat him just like the rest, but I had MANY, MANY sleepless nights wondering how he would keep up. I was scared he wouldn't have the same experiences my older two had, that he'd be left behind, not able to communicate with his cousins, or able to participate in all the games they play ... how would he know where they were running off to and what they were all laughing at or talking about? Many tears were shed over this alone.

BUT, just the opposite is true.

He fits right in. He doesn't miss a beat and is never left out. He keeps right up with his cousins without a problem. It melts my heart as I watch and hear Aiden as he laughs with them, runs around screaming with them. He understands what they say and he talks back to them.

He hears when they're in the basement vs. upstairs and finds them in hide and seek. He calls them by their names and runs up and tells them, "Ahmon, les go". He terrorizes them, then laughs out loud knowing exactly what he's doing. He keeps up. He is very much a part of the "crew".

and in the same sense, I love how each one of his cousins have come up to me many times with, "Oh my gosh Aunt Tammy, Aiden just said (fill in the blank)!" or "Guess what word I just taught Aiden to say!" or "Aunt Tammy, Aiden's CI fell off and I put it back on!" or, in pure excitement, "Aunt Tammy, Aiden heard me from all the way downstairs and he listened to what I said!"

His "magic ears" have no bearing on any of them in defining who he is. He isn't treated any differently. I hear them yell at him to "Stop", then a second later will hear something like, "Aiden, it's a snowglobe. Watch how the snow falls, falls, falls when you shake it up." Some have gone to his AV therapy or audiology appointments, out of pure curiosity. Some follow his story through this blog.

They have all asked questions about his "ears", wanting to better understand how they work; they've all shared in the excitement of how well he's hearing and recently how well they understand what Aiden is saying.

If I would've had the slightest inclination of the power of cochlear implants and all the opportunities they've opened up for Aiden, especially communicating with ALL of his family, there would've been so many saved tears and sleepless nights.

So to ALL of his cousins, I send a huge THANK YOU. Thank you for being Aiden's advocates, his teachers, his supporters, but best of all, for being such great cousins.


Herding Grasshoppers said...

Oh Tammy, that just makes my heart sing! First, just the warmth of the big family in general, but also the way Aiden is right in there and they all just love on him and accept/learn/deal with his hearing issues and equipment.



Melanie said...

LOVE! He has a lot of language models!

We have a small family, but I had the same worries about Peas.

The Brights said...

I love this! Tayten doesn't have as many cousins, but his cousins are definitely an important part of him!

We've always weighed the options of moving closer to services or staying near our family and in the end, we know we could never walk away from those special little people! They are some of the best teachers!!

Christian and Lily's Mommy said...

Love this post---we too have lots of cousins (ours are from even our close friends who are "Aunts and Uncles" to our kids) and I remember worrying about the same thing. Isn't it amazing how they just ALL figure it out. Hearing loss is a total NON ISSUE with them. I remember having one of those moments last year at a Labor Day party....about 15 of them were just running and Christian was LEADING the tag game. Melted.My.Heart.

Sending lots of love to super Aiden!