I know I’ve mentioned before what it’s like when I visit Alex’s school for a special event. Walking down a hallway, jam-packed with students from Kindergarten to Grade 12, all of them chatting animatedly without a sound but the scuffing of shoes on the floor, is an experience not many hearing people are likely to have. I want to add that the shoe-scuffing is decidedly loud, however. I think that may be because Deaf parents aren’t constantly telling the kids to stop dragging their feet already, like the rest of us do. But I digress.
Unlike the above point, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned the first time I went with Alex for a playdate. It was back when we lived in the Ottawa area. We only went to a couple, hosted by a Deaf mom, for her kids and some of their friends, all of whom were Deaf. I was lucky to have found them: I was pointed in the right direction by one of my American Sign Language teachers.
My first impression at the playdate, once we got the kids organized and sitting around a table with building blocks, was how eerie it was. If I remember correctly, there were four adults and five or six children ranging in ages from two to six, and the room was dead quiet. What I remember the most was how happy Alex was. At the age of six, Alex was probably more fascinated watching the adults sign and the kids communicate with one another without excluding him than he was with the actual playing. It was at that moment that I realized these were his people and I was not. As happy as I was for him, and still am, that he’s part of that wonderful community, being unlike him is one of the most heartbreaking things I have to endure as his mother.
It’s very strange to give birth to someone whose first language isn’t the same as yours.
My A to Z theme concerns the joys and challenges of being the hearing mother of my Deaf son, Alex. To learn more about his beginnings in life, click here to go to my first A to Z entry.