Valentine’s Day is my daughter’s and my favorite day of the year. We absolutely love Christmas and Easter to celebrate for personal reasons. But Valentine’s Day is different to us, it is a day for the world to be loved and appreciated by others. It is perpetuates kindness. During school years, on this day, there is no bullying and everyone is equal. My daughter absolutely loves to shower the world with her love. This year, she had 3 different sets of cards/activities for each classmate. Maybe a slight overboard? I did not want to discourage her to do less for others.
“Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind” - Dodinsky
During the ride on act of kindness and love, I always do things for others. I always help my family and friends when in need. I was my grandmother’s caregiver for few years, she had alzheimer's and she was absolutely my best friend. I am a full time single mother and full time teacher’s aide caring for the toddlers. I don’t want less, I want to do more. Meanwhile, if you know me well, you know I am not selfish and known for not setting boundaries or take time to myself to taking care for myself.
“Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind” - Dodinsky
“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first”
I chose to stay at home all weekend to take care of my business and catch up on things.I organized and cleaned,caught up on business projects, and the worst nightmare- my daughter’s toy room, the endless torture! But I rested along the way, it felt SO good for my soul to be on top of everything and to be rested.Unfortunately, I got a bad cold yesterday. It’s the worse with my nasal accent, my plummet failing brain focusing on auditory and communication, and motherhood when too exhausted to fix dinner. Luckily, my daughter sat by me in bed and snuggled closer after the tissue war with my nose. Silently, I slept all morning and gave myself a lavender bath. Rested all afternoon. I’m ready to return the world to give and help.
Reminder for us ladies-
“Be the best version of you” and “Make yourself a priority”!
After a long week at work, my work team and I met for a delicious dinner on Friday night before our evening class. It was so much fun chatting with the ladies while eating a delicious meal. We all went to Phoenix Children’s Hospital to attend an audiology seminar. I saw so many familiar faces, current and former families from our school. It was interesting learning the latest developments on an audiology process, comparisons with hearing aids, Cochlear and both (one hearing aid/1 Cochlear), and oral and sign language comparisons. When we got to the comparisons, I thought “Why am I here? I should not be here” because I have one cochlear implant and it was a strange feeling to be part of their statistics. It is not like I don't want my other ear to hear, I have health insurance issues. It is very common with other patients as we discussed health care issues. An interesting fact that was presenset was“ If a child is using technology for only 4 hours/day, it will take 6 hours for the child to hear what a typically hearing child hears in one year”.
Towards to end, we watched a documentary, a film that interviewed several Deaf people. They were just like me!! They all wore their body hearing aids back in late 1970s-1980s before cool hearing aids came out. Then getting a cochlear implant later on, I started to have tears. We all have nasal speech or some kind of accent due to later implanted life compared to toddlers having cochlear implant or auditory training. Minutes went by, more tears because it was exactly what I went through- social life growing up, me discovering my deafness more by other people asking me or learning about my deafness, personal life at home, school life advocating for my needs in High school and College years, parenting: my daughter and I learning how to communicate with each other while she was learning about my deafness, and work experiences by getting discriminated at interviews and communication experiences. It was emotionally exhausting to have flashback of memories and exciting at the same time to be able to relate these people. Life will always be hard. For hearing and non hearing, no matter what. I choose joy at times like this.
I told my daughter that I was crying at class (quietly) because my life was and is hard with my deafness and the children who have the latest technology and more resources are doing so much more amazing and will have less struggles. We were out the following night talking, when I blurted out “beauty school” as “booty school” pronunciation. Someone dear to us corrected me and she immediately started crying and was protecting me by saying “My mommy is deaf, she works hard, don't make fun of her!” I assured everyone that it’s okay because my mother and family still correct me sometimes, it comes from love. It shows how protective she is of me and how she’s aware of my deafness and my struggles. (That...melts… my heart.)
Recently, I got an email from an editor at www.Hearinglike.com (Phonak) wanting to interview me for an article about my business. I have been working so hard on this business while maintaining my day job and single motherhood life.I felt honored to be interviewed by them. I started following their website when I started my business. Hearing Like Me has great resources and stories for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals and families. I was shocked to see how many visitors came to my website over the weekend! Again, I felt blessed with orders coming in! I’ll be having more new designs and colors coming to the shop over the next two months!
As my life continues to evolve, I am excited what the future holds for my daughter and I. Nine years ago, I became a single mother. When my daughter was born, I published a book about my life with deafness. Due to single parenting, I was not able to continue my college education. I became a Cosmetologist. I learned so much about customer service while working at a high end salon in Scottsdale. I also did hair and makeup at photoshoots for Windsor fashion company headquartered in Los Angeles. What a ride! Long hours at the salon prevented me from spending needed time with my daughter. A new door opened, I became a Teacher’s Aide to work with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. It gave me the flexibility that allowed me to be a full time mother and a passion for working with our students and accomplishing their goals. Now, I am running a business on Deaf Awareness and love getting to know more Deaf and Hard of Hearing families from Social Media that have been following me and ordering shirts.
My point is: life is always keeps evolving and I enjoy being open to new doors. Do it scared! Don’t doubt yourself. My father once said to me “ Get out of the hallway and go to new door”. He meant move forward from the past and try new things. I am blessed. So I hope you will try something new or gain more confidence in that you can do whatever you're mind is set on to do. I hope you don’t feel discouraged. I am not here for a competition, I am here for the community. I tell my daughter before I leave for work “ Shine bright, my dear” as a reminder to stay strong, to be fearless and to give it a try- whether she’ll have struggles with math, friendships drama, or new things.
On a Saturday, I received a message asking if my shirt “I can and I WILL” is available in Kelly Green shirt. After emails back and forth, I looked at the calendar and thought to myself there is no way I can get this Kelly Green shirt to her in less than two weeks! I felt discouraged. I wanted it to happen for this wonderful mother and her hearing impaired daughter. They were committed to attend West Virginia State Capitol and represent their Listening and Spoken Language program, the Luke Lee program. Her daughter went through listening and oral approach language from Luke Lee, and now is being mainstreamed.
I felt bad that I had to say no and explained the process of getting the shirt, shop printing process and shipping process, she went ahead and ordered the gray heart hearing aid shirt for her daughter to wear at the ceremony. We continued to email each other sharing stories of a hearing loss journey and deaf education. It was inspiring. After two nights wrestling with thought, I was encouraged to try to ask the shop if they can throw in the Kelly Green shirt with the order that was already in production. I emailed and they responded “yes” right away. I contacted the mother and I switched the shirts out as soon as I picked the shirts up. It was shipped and arrived few days before the ceremony! I did it! I can and I WILL!
When I went to Christy Wright’s Business Boutique convention last November, in Nashville with my mother, she once said “People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it” - Simon Sinek. My mother and I elbowed each other, this quote instantly connected to us! Seriously, this is 100% of why I do it! I do it for the hearing impaired community, their deaf education, the deaf students and their families! I always wanted the hearing impaired children to feel loved and awesome wearing something that shows part of their journey. A portion of sales goes to Deaf Education because there are programs nationwide that are not funded completely by the Government, we are constantly trying to get funds from grants, fundraisers, charities and more to keep the schools running and to help the students who do not get funded from their school districts.
After the Kelly Green shirt experience, it reminded me WHY I do it and they inspired me to launch the Kelly Green shirts for March! It will be named after their daughter, “Cailyn: I can and I WILL” Here are the pictures below.
Dont give up.
Do it for cause.
Shop for Deaf Education.
My mother handed me a newspaper article about CVS to ban fake makeup photographs. It explained how thousands of make up companies have images of beautiful women but have been photo-shopped dramatically. Pictures before and after- you can see differences with arms, cheek bones and other areas. The main effect from social media and photography is eating disorders and insecurities.
I grew up with big hearing aids, glasses with eye patch, braces, night headgear, and struggled with my weight images throughout adolescence. Mainly, my insecurities were my weight and hearing loss. I covered my hearing aids by wearing my hair down during junior high and high school years. I used to wear a lot of makeup now I just wear natural makeup look and welcome my beginning wrinkles as well as wear mommy buns often and am grateful for my cochlear implant!
Now, I’m raising my daughter who will be ten years old in a few months. I tell her stories about how I felt growing up with my hearing loss and looks. We have deep talks about the beauty of people in this world- the flaws, the inside and outside, and their strengths. She is sensitive and aware that we all are different. She loves everyone and sees the best in everyone. She knows what I go through on daily basis facing challenges. She loves me for who I am and she’s my protector. I feel, because of me, she accept others greatly!
The other night she wanted to show me YouTube videos of Disney stars and their transformations. I didn’t react initially, I was curious what she thought and her vote on then or now on each star. She was disappointed with their extreme transformations She felt they were already beautiful with natural looks and their bodies before. It was interesting and eased my heart because social media exposure has more influence on her generation then our previous generations.
What makes us beautiful? It is our confidence and accepting who we are. So be true to yourself, let the world know you, and smile. Have courage! Bravery is beautiful.
“Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile”
“A smile is the best makeup a girl can wear!”
Last Friday evening, we saw The Greatest Showman film. It was an amazing film. It was one of those films that has important message- we all are different! It was very deep along with catchy tunes and dance moves. In fact, when we were walking to the theater; we saw all sorts of people that were different. For example, there were people that were over 6’6 feet tall, different shapes of bodies, and many people that were physically disabled. After seeing this film, I explained to my daughter that we all are different and unique in our own ways. Meanwhile, I was different at the movies. People who walked by me did not know that I am deaf since my hair was down and covered my cochlear implant. I loved the song, “This Is Me” by Keala Settle from the The Greatest Showman Soundtrack when the group of unique people were mistreated awfully by the public and felt unloved. But they did not give up and continued to face their fears by showing their unique selves.
I am different. My daughter is different even though she does not have physical disability. She is tall for her age. She has braces. People do not know she struggles on focusing in class due to high energy. Recently, we saw the movie, Wonder. Auggie has Treacher Callins Syndrome. His mother told him that she loves him for who he is. He shouted back at her angrily that she loves him because she is his mother. She corrected him and said that not only is she his mother, she knows his best qualities because he showed it and let her be part of his journey. She was encouraging him to make friends and face his fears by letting them get to know him. The Wonder film brought us memories of my childhood years of frustrations with my deafness and my peers. We all cried throughout the movie.
When my daughter was a few years old, I was working at the hair salon and my hours were long. There were times I got off at 8 PM that we were not able to spend much time together. One night, she was upset with me for me being tired and wanted my attention. It was time for her to take a bath. She looked at me and boldly told me she did not like my voice.( I have a nasal accent due to my profound hearing loss, and I was cochlear implanted at age fifteen). She did not know. She did not understand. At that moment, I cried. My mother cried. My father was upset for me. My daughter bawled. She felt horrible that she hurted her mama. But the reality was she was only three and half years old and learning that this is who I am. My mother was wearing a neatly starched white button up shirt, and it was getting soaked with Makayla’s tears and mine. My mother explained to her about my deafness (how it will not get better), I cannot change my voice and the stories of my struggles while I was growing up. Ever since, Makayla tells me I have a beautiful voice and she is protective of me and my deafness.
Overall, we all are beautifully different and have our own story to tell. We are the authors of our own stories. We do not give up by showing others what we are capable of and who we are! That is bravery. Do it scared! Be YOU!
Saturday morning will be remembered as the day our lives were changed forever. We went and picked out Makayla’s wish. On Christmas morning, when we visited the puppies, Makayla fell in love with the puppy with the black dog collar. She was still available. It was destiny. We brought her home. It was like bringing home a baby. We allowed her in only two rooms, the family room and our bedroom. Since it was Holly’s first night at home, we decided to follow the method that said to keep her in our bedroom for three nights at bedtime. I felt like it was having a baby all over again. Only because when I had my daughter, I did not have the hearing impaired baby monitor that signaled us when we cannot hear when we go to sleep without our hearing devices on. Frequently, I woke up checking on her. Again, I did this same method with Holly. Mother instincts soundlessly.
Monday was our New Year. After chasing the holidays, lack of sleep before and after Holly’s arrival, keeping up with myself and my daughter. Monday was a long day of frustrations picking up after my daughter and the puppy while being a zombie, so we watched “To Joey, With Love” after dinner. It’s recommended to watch! Available at Hobby Lobby! I decided to take a bath to destress and take care of myself. Honestly, my desire was relaxing time to myself. Makayla had to brush her teeth before bed. She pulled the curtain, and said to me “Mom, you are taking a bath! Why?” Meanwhile, Holly peed and pooped. Makayla stumbled over my clothes and it got onto Holly’s urine mess. I instructed her calmly to clean it up. She really wanted to take care of me.
Makayla decided to put the bath bomb in to help to make my bath extra special. Pale pink fizzled away. Then she decided to apply cucumber facial mask on me.Her cold hands gently touched my cheeks. I closed my eyes and I prayed. Meanwhile, it brought me to a memory of when she was a few months old. For her first year of her life, I was busy taking care of my grandmother with Alzheimer’s and my infant daughter at the same time. There were days when I had to take a long hot shower while she was in her bouncer, sleeping. Here we are, she is nine years old taking care of me during my special bath.
This is us. We are like Rory and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls,
we are best friends,
we have each other,
we are mother and daughter,
we are hearing and silent -helping each other to survive this world together.
Beautiful mess. Beautiful silence. Beautiful love.
Christmas was wonderful to my family and me. We all went to church together and from party to party. My calendar was looking like a tornado with all the titles of events. At the parties, I now am quiet and calmer. While growing up, sitting in a large room with the family and relatives conversations overlapping and volume of voices increasing while the lighting of the room dimming due to Christmas lights and fireplace lighting up and crackling sounds. As a teenager, I secretly panicked and was overwhelmed but I kept smiling. Mostly, I sat next to my grandmother Rose throughout the years during Christmas parties and we squeezed each others hands by signaling each other “They are crazy” “What was that?” “You doing okay?” and winked at each other.
Over the years and especially the past few years, things are different with our family. My grandma passed away a few years ago. I learned to mediate and stay quiet. Now I have my active daughter, I have to stay calm before I go cucko koo crazy and mark her memories of crazy mother going crazy. I did not want her to grow up remembering that. This Christmas, I was very calm and quiet because of so many commitments and to attend events. I sat on the floor thinking of my childhood memories growing up in Vermont and having years of “White Christmas” with my family, especially my grandmother. She was truly the light of my life and my vision and hearing. She was my device to the world.
This Christmas morning, we all were finished opening up presents except one big present that was for “The Family”. She was opening it and thinking it was for my 11.5 years old dog, Gucci. Dog toys then eventually Dog Training book. “I get it. You want me to train Gucci.” She still did not get it! My mother announced that we had an appointment to see the puppies because we are getting a new puppy. My daughter squealed! Then quickly she cried in tears of happiness!
My father, daughter and I went to see the puppies. She was in heaven and did not want to leave. We are picking up our new member on Saturday! Magical Christmas of love and sounds. We have named our new Labradoodle, Holly- Holly Holland. I like the sound of that.
We hope you all had a nice Christmas!
Do it Scared.
Love More, Worry Less.
Be open to new possibilities.
Christmas is around the corner. My mind still takes me back to my childhood memories back in Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York. If you take a look at my childhood snow globe during holiday season, you would see..
Dark silent nights of car rides driving in snow, quiet still houses with windows that have curtains and plug in candlelight sticks. Hearing the window wipers swishing back and forth to wipe the soundless snow.
White hills of snow where it welcomes my brother, friends and I to go sledding. My cold bones and bright pink cold skin. My hearing aids would get clogged up, it sounded hazy. From hours of the wetness cold air.
The sounds of fire crackles and rustles of newspapers on our wood burning stove every Christmas morning at five am before we drive to New York to be with my grandparents.
I had hearing aids until I was 15 years old, I got one cochlear implant which was my choice. Two weeks before my surgery was in mid December, my father and I would go for evening walks and look at Christmas lights. It was a new tradition. Symbol of new things ahead. My Cochlear Implant. The night before the surgery, my brother walked in to get his jacket to go out with college friends. He took a moment and comforted me when I cried in fear about the surgery. My mother was my nurse when I had to stay in bed for two weeks. (Back in 2000, cochlear implant surgeries were a lot different than today).
Ability to hear my daughter’s voice, watch Christmas magic plays and sightings with her, sing along songs with my preschoolers. Example:“Jingle Bells”. I never really heard and understood Christmas music when I was little.
I am thankful for my family who walked beside me during my hearing loss journey building my strength to where I am at today.
I am thankful for my daughter being patient with my hearing loss.
I am thankful for my staff for the Christmas season of learning Frosty Snowman and Jingle Bells music. I’m like the big Elf learning the music and storytelling with the hearing impaired kiddos!
Merry Christmas to you all, my followers. Thank you for your support of Business Boutique Love, Ashlee Rose! There is still time for last minute shopping on my website.
Laying in my bed looking at my Christmas tree. Yes, it is in my bedroom. Since I became a single mother when my daughter was 16 months old, we moved in with my parents. I wanted my daughter to remember I provided our own Christmas tree and traditions. We collected ornaments every year on our trips or were given as gifts to us. She still wants a tree in the bedroom. Which I love!
Above the window, I have a wood sign that says “love more, worry less”. Daily spirals of single motherhood working at a job, running a business at home, and raising my daughter is my completely normal routine. But this month is holiday month, gearing up for Christmas, parties to attend, plays to attend to keep traditions, daughter’s extracurricular holiday activities like the violin concert, nurturing her the past 48 hours when she had fever and stomach flu (endless laundry- the mothers would know what this means!), pack and unpack trip- now we are packing for Legoland trip to go tomorrow after work, I worry “Can I make it through today?!” ,“There is so much to do today”, “I can’t get it done by tonight”. Stop. I must “love more, worry less”. All these things are temporary, I must stay in the moment and love more. Show more love. Give more love. Say things in more love. Feel more love. Erase my fears and worries. Slow down. See the beauty of December.
Last night, my mother took my daughter and I to a Christmas play. My! It was magical. Every scene was beautiful. I felt the joy of the holidays. The joy of being a family. I was thankful for my mother to take us (a break from sickness, school and work life, the phone and technology). Just to be together and watch a theatre play. Every scene brought me memories of growing up as a deaf child. I will share why in a different blog soon!
I am thankful for traditions with my daughter and family.
I am thankful for my village- my parents, brother and daughter.
I choose joy, do it scared, love more and worry less.