Friday, May 29, 2009

She Did It

At approximately noon today, Hilary will have officially completed high school. Not unexpected, and certainly not a big deal for the average kid. However, Hilary isn't your average kid. Hilary was born deaf. Unaided, she hears nothing. Hilary has been attending school since she was 3 years old and her academic "career" has taken her to Phoenix Day School for the Deaf, Central Institute for the Deaf, Moog Center for Deaf Education, St. Joseph's Institute for the Deaf, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School and finally, our public high school down the street.

Hilary introduced me to the world of special needs, special ed, speech therapy, occupational therapy, early intervention, IEPs, sign language, total communication, oral communication, hearing aids, and cochlear implants, to name a few. More importantly, through Hilary I learned that, as a parent, I would make whatever sacrifices were necessary and do whatever it took to give her the best I could. The best chance at hearing, the best chance at communication and the best chance at learning to successfully function in a world where the majority of people hear and talk. Fifteen years ago, I never would have imagined that in giving Hilary the best I could, she would lead us to a City where we would need to be for Jack. Life has a funny way of working out like it should.

Without a doubt, Hilary's happiest years were in St. Louis where she spent 6 1/2 years attending school with her deaf peers. Our move back home to Arizona was necessitated by many factors, but I will always carry a little guilt for taking Hilary away from the place she was happiest. Yet, Hilary never complained. She just went along with it, did her best and got through junior high and high school completely on her own, without any intervention or support services. (not because she wasn't entitled to services, but because she didn't need them.) I'm extremely proud of what Hilary has accomplished and, while I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that there have been many times that Hilary has frustrated me beyond belief, she really has done remarkably well given the challenges she has faced. At the end of the day, Hilary likes who Hilary is and that's all that really matters. That is success. Granted, she still needs to find a way to support herself and move out of my house someday!

Hilary has many extraordinary talents. She is an amazing story teller (writer), artist and animator. Hilary has dreams of being a cartoonist and/or animator. Just recently (and rather late in the process, I might add), Hilary applied to Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY. RIT has both a large deaf population and degrees in film and animation and illustration. It's the perfect place for Hilary. Hopefully, she'll be accepted this year. If not, Hilary will begin her journey down the road of Plan B (and C, and D, and . . . ) I'm confident that however things work out .... they'll work out.

Well, enough rambling and without further ado ... here is a montage chronicling the last 18 years of Hilary's life. Ironically, I chose the songs because of what they say, yet Hilary won't be able to understand the words when she listens to/watches the video. (I'll give her the written words to the songs so she knows what they say, but it's not the same. Then again, it's all she knows).

I hope you enjoy it.


Anonymous said...

What a great day! I hope you all enjoy this special day and that Hilary enjoys her huge accomplishments in life.
Your video once again has left me in tears - Thanks!
Luv ya

Alicia said...

That was beautiful, it had me crying. As did the wonderful things you said about Hillary.

Congratulations Hillary! You are beautiful and I can tell from what your mom said about you that you are a talented young woman who will go far in this life.

Happy Graduation!

Anne said...

Congratulations Hilary! You are a remarkable young woman and I wish you great success in life.

The Marangella Family said...

I never realized just how much Hillary looks like you Ann! I am so proud of Hillary and how she faced and conquered all of her challenges. It should give us hope for our own special kiddos, when they have the WILL they’ll also find the WAY!

Relax and truly enjoy this day, you’ve all earned it…and remember soon enough we will be old and gray (wait, I already am old and gray) and wishing we had our kids back under our wings again. Although without them we will have more time to drink…..

Congrats Hillary, go get ‘em!

Susan said...

It is a lovely video, she's was a beautful and happy child and has turned into quite an inspiring young lady. I can't wait to hear what she does in life. I know it will be great. Congrats Hillary!

Karen said...

Congratulations to all of you! Have a fabulous day and celebration!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Hilary.

The video is beautiful!


Melisande said...

Congrats Mama and Hillary! What a journey for you both! Beautiful video and photos! Very emotionally moving!!

Wishing you the best on your journey Hillary!!

Marcie said...

Congratulations Hillary!!

Beautiful video, Ann!

worthy said...

That was a wonderful montage Ann. You must be so proud of what Hilary has achieved. she is an amazing and talented young woman. I remember her drawings they were fantastic - I am certain she will go far. congratulations, have a fantastic day! xxx

Christy said...

Loved the montage. Beautiful - as is Hillary and your entire family. I love hearing about all your kids and watching them grow up (in just 8 minutes - what a time saver!). I agree with the others - it is very inspiring to see how great she's doing and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Congratulations Hillary!

Sarah said...

What an amazing life she's had so far. You've been such a great inspiration for her. She is definitely on her way to great things!