Friday, September 25, 2009

The Best Of Both Worlds

Today was really exciting so I thought it would be a good idea to share one story of how we became a bi-cultural family. It is a bit hard to write this blog at times because for the first three years it was like a roller coaster. For the most part it was really fun and exciting but there was a lot of frustration with the professionals. Our life now is pretty stress free when it comes "deaf" issues. In fact many deaf friends told me not to worry about him back then. They told me he would be fine because we were doing the right thing. I was still stressed because I could see if the schools would just do a few simple things I knew he would be fine. More on that later today is a wonderful day.

About 11 years ago......

Our deaf babysitter was fantastic. She was very open to helping us meet people in the community. When Hayden was just about 12 months she invited us to a child's birthday party. The parents were deaf as was their child. Of course we said yes but I am embarrassed to admit we where terrified. The only reason we were invited is because of our son. We didn't know anyone other than our friend and our signing was still awkward. When we arrived we sat on the floor of their apt. We didn't know what to do. Everyone was having fun. The adults were all engaged in animated conversations which were so fast I had no idea what they were talking about.

Soon folks started introducing themselves and we relaxed. They signed slower with us and made us feel so welcome. What stuck me the most is several of them took the time to share their stories and back round. This was a private party with friends and they took time away from it to encourage us and make us feel comfortable. On of the families had a son the same age as mine. 4 1/2 years later when we moved out of state we met that family again. They had moved to the same town and to this day the two boys are best friends. My son is Deaf and his friend is a CODA.

I wonder if hearing people in general would do the same thing for a deaf couple with a hearing child at a party?


So my son has been invited to all three call backs for a play at school. The last one was last night and the director asked to speak with me when they were done. At this point there were just high school kids and my son who is a sixth grader left. I thought she wanted to ask me something about deafness but she didn't. She said she really wanted to cast him but they never cast sixth graders because of the rehearsal and training schedule. She asked if I thought he could manage the play and school. I told her he is a really hard worker when it comes to acting. I am so proud of him! He found out this morning when it was posted on the theater Call Board that he was a cast member. It is 2 weeks into school and he knocks one out of the park.

He told me he got the part when I picked him up from school. He is really excited and can't wait to start. We were headed to his old school, which is a deaf school for home coming but first we stopped at home to get a snack.

My son was attacked by a squirrel.
He was walking to the front door and I was a few steps behind with my daughter trailing behind me looking at her fairy house off to the side of the walkway. He began to walk up the steps and let out a blood curdling scream and threw his backpack. Something flew past me just inches from my head. It was to heavy to be a bird, I screamed and tried to grab for my son. My daughter screamed and ran away from the house. I yelled for my daughter and asked my son what thing was. It was a squirrel. It was on a window in the little arch of our doorway. It freaked out when we arrived and jumped from the window onto my son's back and flew past me. So we took a breath, grabbed a snack and headed to the deaf school.

The really cool thing about a state deaf school is over time it feels like family. Our school is small and connected by generations. I am friends with the staff and children. We hadn't seen many of them since school got out last June but have known them for almost 8 years. It was so much fun to see my son among these old friends. I got a kick out him teaching the kids the cha cha. He had learned this dance the day before at school and really loved it.

I got a chance to catch up with friends and talk to the kids. I met a deaf mom who had a hearing daughter at my son's new school so now there is one connection to the deaf community bridging the two worlds. My daughter also enjoyed seeing her friends and both kids were running freely for 3 hours during the game. Since we all know each other there is a feeling of safety allowing this.

When we got home he caught me up on the kid's gossip and news. He didn't show any interest in going back to school there but he really loved hanging with his peeps. I realize he is growing up and his path right now is in both worlds. He is happier than he has been in a long time. He can pursue his interests and thirst for learning and still be part of the Deaf world.


  1. Congrats on the part! My daughter is in an ASL play about an hour from our house. We head up there three times a week. I don't mind because it is an opportunity to see her friends and she loves it so much. I've long ago learned to embrace my van because I spend so much time driving the kids in three different directions to see their friends.

  2. Karen I wish I could get a van! Well I also wish thee was more time in the day.....and I want a van with the seats that turn around so we could travel as a family and have easy communication. My Honda is cramping my style!

  3. Congrats to Hayden on getting the part! That's so exciting! And your post title rings true for me: "The Best of Both Worlds." I got the education I wanted from public schools growing up but got the socialization I needed by being involved with the local Deaf community. I continue to have the best of both worlds by working at UVM and spending my free time with family and friends. =D