Wednesday, April 11, 2012

To the most important teacher in my life: "I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you my heart has no bottom" ~Author Unknown........

Today was an AMAZING day! And how fitting it was, as I am embarking on a new chapter of my life. As I began this journey, my mind kept going back to some very important people in my life. One person I thought about so often and more so now than ever, was a very special teacher. She had such an impact on my life because I am where I am today because of her, along with my parents. She taught me how to lipread so well. She gave my parents the skills and lessons to work with me at home. I lost touch with her over the years and she had moved to Texas. I had to find Ms. Ann. I searched through Facebook. I found her name but there was no profile picture.....she does not like to have her picture taken :)  I sent a private message to her in hopes that she was the one I was looking for. She responded! I was thrilled. Over the next few months, she would read my blogs. She was excited for me. I prayed one day I would get to see her again and show my gratitude.  She emailed me in March and told me she was coming to Dayton in April to visit her sister and hoped we could meet. My prayers were answered! I had wanted this for so long. It had been 32 years since I had seen her! My Dad, my Mom and I met with her at Mimi's Cafe this afternoon. I was so anxious all morning and just couldn't wait. I walked into the lobby and there she was standing there. After all these years, I recognized her face especially her lips. We hugged each other so tightly. It took everything I had to hold my tears back. My heart was so full of gratitude for this woman, this very special teacher and I hoped she knew. We talked for almost three hours. Nonstop. We talked about my upcoming cochlear surgery and reminisced over the days of her teaching me. She taught me from the age of two until I was eight years old. I saw her three days a week for an hour each time. She worked with me in a group setting and privately. She taught me how to lipread by feeling her voice with my hand, by teaching me how form the sounds of each letter in the alphabet, by vibrations of the floor in response to her voice and by repeating words and sentences after her over and over. Week after week for many years, my parents drove me to Dayton to see her.......they never gave up. I am forever grateful to my parents who believed in me. Ms. Ann believed in me. She was told  I would never get past 4th grade level and that I should not be in public schools. Ms. Ann worked with me until I perfected my lipreading and language skills. My parents never gave up and they fought hard for me. My Mom put up a little fight for me to start kindergarten in the Kettering City Schools. They told my Mom I belonged in a deaf school. She refused to back down and she prevailed. I was taught well by Ms. Ann and I was ready for kindergarten. She moved away when I was eight years old and I continued my speech therapy in the schools twice a week. While I was talking with her today, I could feel the love from her. I could tell she was so proud of me and the woman I have become. She was happy that I was happy. She was happy that my parents were there and that they are still supportive of me in every way. As we got up to leave and my parents walked ahead of us, she looked at me and told me I had the best parents and I just knew what she meant. They did everything in their power for their child, me, because they believed in all of the possibilities for me. We hugged goodbye and said "I love you". When I walked back to the car with my Mom, I broke down in tears because I was overwhelmed with gratitude for Ms. Ann and her role in my life. It is my only hope that she knows how much. I love you Ms. Ann.

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