As we approach my favorite holiday, I can't help but be a little sentimental and review this year's events.

About a year ago I watched a child's cochlear implant get turned on for the first time. What moved me most was not what I had expected. That morning I quietly entered the audiology observation unit here at The Center for Hearing and Speech and through the dim glass I saw a beautiful picture. Huddled together around a table was a family. In the middle was a young boy. Mom and sisters were playing a game and Dad scanned their eager faces with the home video camera. They all waited as Dr. Wickesberg made the final adjustments in preparing the computer and technology for this special moment.

When the implant was turned on and the boy began to hear, surprisingly, it was not his response that made the lasting impression on me. Perhaps because I am the eldest of three myself, this is what touched my heart... out of the corner of my eye I noticed his sister. When she saw her brother give a timid smile to the sound of his mother's voice small tears streamed down her face.

New Year's Day is by far my favorite holiday, and not because of all the typical festivities that one is reminded of. I love New Year's because I love thinking about all the events that have transpired, good and bad. However, the memories that stay with me are always the small unexpected moments.

I have to admit before I started working for this remarkable organization I took my hearing for granted. After that day whenever I give a tour at the Center I always say, "Imagine what it what it would really be like to not hear your family say 'I love you' or listen, sing and dance to your favorite song with your sisters.

There are so many things to be grateful for this holiday season, but as the countdown to the New Year begins my number one moment--my gift of sound ---was one that came from a most unexpected place.

-- Katharine Boyette