Moments of Glad Grace

Oh BabyI rarely talk about my daughter’s deafness. That story is hers to tell. But I sometimes talk about being the parent of a deaf child.

The distinction is important. One approach invites appropriation, the other introspection.

That said, I’m delighted my essay The Shell of your Ear appears in Oh Baby!, a new anthology from Creative Nonfiction.

The essay explores my reaction to my daughter’s diagnosis, and the long, sometimes rocky road to acceptance.

I’m thrilled that it’s found such a good home, nestled among so many beautifully written essays about parenthood. You can find out more about the anthology here or enter a draw for a free copy here.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking back to my daughter’s early days and the moment I found out she was deaf. My first coherent thought was that she’d never hear poetry. I was inconsolable, even though I knew, in my more rational moments, that few people consider poetry essential in life.

But that was the point. I wanted her to have more than the prescribed essential. I wanted her to have art and literature and music; to have moments that transcended the ordinary, moments of ‘glad grace’. I wanted her to experience language as something more that pragmatic. I wanted her to experience it as sublime.

In the sixteen years since her birth, I’ve been busy re-evaluating my concepts of ‘glad grace’ and sublimity. (The kids have been busy laughing at me.)

I’m embarrassed that I once paid so much attention to the written word, so little to the unspoken.

Mostly, I’m mystified that I thought any of my children would grow up to love poetry.








18 thoughts on “Moments of Glad Grace

  1. Such a beautiful post. Obviously brings Yeats to mind and I can identify with your reaction being a person who adores poetry and who had a mother who spoke in poetry to me.
    I’d delighted that you are happy with the home of your piece. That’s important too.

    • Ahh, thanks Jean. How lovely to be raised by someone who spoke poetry to you! And yes, I’m a big Yeats’ fan. In fact, used to recite The Song of Wandering Aengus to my oldest daughter when she was a child. It came up in a pub quiz recently, and she surprised her friends by getting it right!:)

      • My pleasure. Yes, I was beyond fortunate to have the mother I had. She was poetic up to the very end.
        I also read Yeats’ love poetry to my son when he was young. He adored it and had quite a grip on the concept of unrequited love by the time he was about five. I hope he never has to go through what Yeats did!

      • You must have wonderful memories of her, Jean. But let’s hope your son escapes the poetry of broken hearts! These things are more fun to read about than live through. 🙂

  2. What a sweet post. Our thoughts change, as we age, which is just as well, isn’t it?
    Congratulations on getting published in this anthology. You did good!

    Lots of love and hugs 🙂

  3. Congratulations on finding a home in the anthology, Aileen. Thought of you as I was listening to the programme ‘The Blind Faithful’ on Radio 5 this evening. It was one of those programmes that does what radio does so wonderfully well and I think you’d enjoy it. It’s on iPlayer here: and I think they’re making it into a podcast.
    All best wishes

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