A few weeks ago I was asked to speak at an annual meeting regarding Newborn Hearing Screening in the state of Maryland. They were asking for a parent's perspective on the screening and my experience. I happily accepted. I have found that I truly enjoy speaking in front of people, which is amusing considering the state of shock that I seem to go into every time I do speak. As time went by I had been contacted by the coordinator for this meeting. I was told 10-15 minutes would be fine.
For those that do not know, I write for a home school newsletter that is distributed world-wide. Neither in speaking or writing am I EVER at a loss for words. Writing typically doesn't take me very long at all. I typically mull it over in my head for a week or two and then am able to process, digest and then, voila, 2 pages written within an hour or two. So I was prepared to write my brief speech on my all of my experiences with the hearing screening. I waited until 2 days before the meeting to print out the agenda, so I knew where I would fall within the timeframe of this meeting. Boy was I surprised when I looked at the agenda and suddenly I was slated to speak for 30 minutes! So after my slight freak out, since I wasn't prepared to speak for 30 minutes, I regrouped and decided that was no problem. I have 5 kids and experience with 4 of them and the testing. No biggie.
That was Wednesday. The day was over before I could blink, so I put my mind to making sure that I sat down Thursday and wrote. After all, the meeting was Friday. So there I sat Thursday evening. I sat and sat and sat. I had a whole whopping 3 sentences. I sat there and stared at that blank document page. The words just wouldn't come. As I sat there trying to figure this out and how I was going to make 30 minutes out of what I had. It wasn't going to happen. And the words just wouldn't come. I got up and took a breather, then regrouped. Still, the words wouldn't come. All I could think was, "I'm a writer! I speak in volumes! How can I NOT have the words to express my feelings and experiences?" And yet, the words wouldn't come. I finally resolved after several hours to do the only thing I could do --- grab some index cards and write bullet point notes for myself. I filled 9 cards front and back with notes and went to bed.
Friday came and I was on the road to the Hearing and Speech Agency. It felt good to dress up business style. Since the bank I work for adopted a policy of SUPER casual, I don't dress like that very much. I armed myself with my index cards and a very large book that was given to me when Sophia was identified as having hearing loss. I walked in the door very calm and collected. By the time I got to the table where there was a familiar face the butterflies had started and my eyes were quite possibly bugging out of my head. I was the second person to speak. I got up there, hands shaking, nervous because, as of last night, I had no words. So I took a deep breath. "Good morning, everyone. My name is Bridget Eaton. I wanted to share with all of you my experience with the Newborn Hearing Screening... ." I went through my whole speech, the whole time feeling like my face was burning red.
And those words, they finally came.