During one of our coffee breaks members of the manufacturing team came to greet us. Some of them spoke English, but most did not. These are the people who make the devices by hand. It’s tedious, careful work, in an environment who’s standards for cleanliness and quality are unlike anything I’ve seen. If a pen falls on the ground it cannot be used. They work for hours at a time, unable to even scratch their noses or adjust their eye glasses. They work through microscopes in order to see the tiny wires and details of what they are putting together. And if they are not careful, if there are mistakes, devices don’t work. They are the ones who put amazing ideas into actual, usable technology. Inventors invent, R&D develops, but without the careful work of that team, no one hears.
A few years ago I wrote a post about how I wasn't super thankful after Liam's first cochlear implant surgery. It was honest and true. I was encouraged to submit that piece to the awesome collaborative blog Coffee + Crumbs. I was conflicted about submitting it though because what was honest and true then, was no longer the truth now. So I added a little epilogue, an update on my thoughts and feelings about Liam's cochlear implant four years later. This updated essay is featured today on the Coffee + Crumbs site. I'd love it if you checked it out.
Sometimes though as parents we must choose to do the hard things even in the face of easier options. Because the hard thing is the best thing. It is the thing that will shape our kids, define their character, enable them to survive on their own. Painful and torturous as it may be to send our kids into the fire alone, it is there where they are refined. Keeping them safe is more dangerous in the long run.
While well-meaning people on Facebook cheered and celebrated the miracle technology that allowed a nine-month-old they’ve never met to hear his mother’s voice, I was mourning because my three year old couldn’t hear my voice well enough without it. And every share and “oh wow” comment made me feel guilty for being so ungrateful.