“She cannot hear. She is deaf” said my daughter.
Humidity creeps in. Rain sprinkles softly. The flowers stand still. The mountains are thick and green. The grass is definitely better on the other side of America- I am in my hometown, Vermont.
I am listening to my favorite music clip- NO ONE absolutely knows my secret power. (My secret power is I can listen to music secretly. It is a Bluetooth clip that connects to my IMusic playlist. You can make phone calls on it as well). Waves of memories rolls in. When I was twelve, my father had this old beautiful gold convertible Cadillac and at nights, he had the top down. I laid down in back seat looking at stars and played my first favorite song “Dreaming of You” by Selena. So loud blasting. I knew it would not destroy my hearing since I was already profoundly deaf! My father was running a huge carpet warehouse that was connected to our house. My brother, his friends and I blasted the music speakers and danced or played hide and seek in the dark. Every night during the summer, we played basketball for hours. I thought I heard the sounds but I did not.
While visiting my aunt, I showered every night and had my processor off for rest of the evening due to wet hair and quiet time, the town was already quiet. Except one night, I delayed my shower and sitting on my bed. The fire truck sirens were going off forever! It sounded like it was next to me. I wondered if there was a fire? I said to Makayla, “what’s going on?!” I was absolutely amazed I was able to hear it miles away! There wasn’t a fire after all, they had fire trucks driving a baseball team after a successful game.
The first week has flown by, my mother flew out to join us for another week. We packed up and went to check into the house we rented for a week. I heard this unusual sound. I ignored it. The next day, walking around the pond in the backyard, I heard this same sound I ignored before. It puzzled me. I said to Makayla, “What is that sound? It sounds like this.” While I tried to imitate the sound and pointed to the sound when it appeared again. It’s a frog! I can’t possibly imitate this croak and ribbet sounds correctly. Of course, the preschool song came in my head “Frog Went A Courting”! I teased the teacher I aide for, my mother and daughter the song and part of lyrics “M-hm. M-hm”!
My vacation reflection:
When I see rain and hear thunder, it brings me back two specific memories.
During my childhood, I only had hearing aids and thunder was probably one of only few sounds I heard without hearing aids as sounds of deep thunder claps and vibration were connected. In Vermont, my mother was driving us to KFC to pick up fried chicken dinner. I was four years old sitting in the front seat (before car seat laws changed drastically due to safety regulations). I see my beautiful mother, the thick green trees and scenery outside of her window. It is pouring. She is laughing. I am not. I was scared and shy a little girl. “Mommy, I am scared”. I heard the thunder. “Did you hear the thunder!?” Said my mama. I gulped and nodded. She said, “The Angels are having so much fun up in heaven! They are bowling!” “Really?” And it comforted me in some ways.
My second memory was when I was about four years old again, I knew I was different already. My brother wasn’t wearing hearing aids. My parents, grandma, aunts and uncles would ask me often, “Can you hear me?” Or “Can you hear that?”My grandmother was babysitting me, my parents gave me kisses as they were heading out to dinner and movie. I cried. I told them the sky doesn’t look good and asked them not to go because I was afraid for their safety. They decided not to go. Then down the street, the light pole fell down and electrocuted a person. The ambulance and fire truck sirens went off. I sat down by the window, held onto my cross necklace praying that I wouldn’t be deaf anymore. Thunder clapped. Rain poured. Lightning flickered.
And I’m still deaf. I wouldn’t be who I am today if God healed me at that moment. His plans are always better than mine. I learned so much from my deafness and both sides of experiences - wonderful and painful kinds. I get stronger day by day by accepting things I can’t change and the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. The rain storms brings me a friendly reminder to accept myself, deafness and my storms.
Dance in the rain throughout all storms!
Hearing Impaired single mother and teacher aide at a hearing impaired oral preschool program. An author of "Turn The Lights On, I Cant Hear You".