Archive for the ‘Koda’ Category

Kodas are so cute!

My youngest daughter is 4. We called Grandma today via Video Relay. I put her in front of the VP and waited for my mom to answer. It was so great seeing my daughter try to communicate as much as possible in sign language. When she didn’t know a sign, she tried to talk through the lens of the VP. I always find it fascinating how knows she doesn’t need to raise her voice. Both the younger girls have known this since they were toddlers, but I can’t get over it at times. She will whisper and speaks into the camera. They talked for about 5 minutes with minimal assistance from me. It was slow going at times and grandma had to repeat the entire sentence to get the whole concept.

I have 3 kids, 15, 6 and 4. It just amazes me, taking into all of their levels of signing that the youngest is actually better than all of them. My oldest is “lazy” when he signs. It’s the attitude of teenagers!

Today, I was in awe of my daughter. It’s days like today that I cherish! I’m blessed to know such a beautiful language.

For a very long time, I didn’t have a dream. It’s almost sad. I was confused on what defined a dream and what was expected of me to do. Graduate college, get married, have a family.

My husband is a dreamer. Thank goodness. Because of him, I’m able to see what believing in your dreams looks like. Up until now, I was living vicariously through him.  My husband, who is Deaf, dreamed of being a pilot. But for years, he was told NO, due to his Deafness. Last year, he stumbled upon Deaf Pilots Association and ever since has been working on his pilot’s license. He is on track of obtaining his private pilot license this year.  His biggest dream is becoming a reality.

I tried to reflect and pinpoint, did I ever have a dream? What was my dream? Why did I not pursue them? I keep coming back to one very vivid memory in my mind. The actual event probably was about 5 seconds of my life, but I have carried it with me for a very long time.

My brother and I were the only hearing kids with Deaf parents in our neighborhood. Actually, during our entire primary education. I’m the oldest, by two years. During elementary school, I got teased because of my parents. They would mimic their voices, act really stupid and laugh at me.  I was such a sensitive girl. I didn’t have a scar on my heart before these kids got to me. I was so innocent and trusting. I couldn’t believe these kids were talking about my parents, I would cry. I just couldn’t contain it. My crying only resulted in more teasing. My brother, who is two years younger than I, was “cool”. To my knowledge he was never teased. He seemed pretty popular actually. 

I can remember thinking in 6th grade- Junior High is going to be different. I’ll be able to start fresh. New kids from migrating from different schools. When I arrived to junior high, a few kids didn’t want me to start fresh. During this year, was very difficult. Kids shared with others my history, my sensitivity. They knew I was a “crybaby”. I remember it being pretty tough at times. It did start to get better and by the time I was a freshman in High School the teasing seemed to stop. However, my self-esteem was crushed. The damage had been done. People had already made their opinions of me. I was very timid, shy and withdrawn during this time.

The 5 seconds I pinpoint of having a small dream was during my sophomore year.  I really wanted to audition for a play. I have no idea what play it was, but auditions were being held after school. I never told anyone my desire to try out. I remember walking past the front office from my locker, on my way out. The auditorium was across a wall of doors that led to the parking lot. I was walking in the middle of the 4 foot wide hall way. The doors to the auditorium were closed, except for one. As I walked past the door, it was only natural to glance to the right. Just like when you are driving a car and you glance to the driver in the next car. As I glanced, my steps stopped. I found my eyes had adjusted perfectly to the stage, where one dim light was shining on a female student, Melanie.  I saw her, at just a glance, and my body just froze. The feeling I had was awe and envy. I was not in awe of her talent, but that she was putting herself out there. I wasn’t envious that she would ultimately get the part, but the envy of having the nerve to try out.

I remembered feeling the teasing had just stopped, I didn’t want to start all over again. I couldn’t bear it for the remainder  of my high school sentence.

I put that dream of performing out of my mind. Technically it was forgotten.  During college, I learned to breathe a bit better. No one knew me! I didn’t have to tell anyone about my parents. I attended numerous colleges and universities trying to find my occupation. I graduated, worked as a paralegal, became a mother, stayed home to raise my children only to find, I don’t have a dream.

I live in a small town, we moved here 2 years ago, from Chicago. In my small town of 35,000, we have an active theater community. Last fall, I saw an ad in our local paper for auditions. Immediately, I knew I was going to try out, regardless of being cast. I was going to try out! I wanted the experience.  To my amazement, I was cast as one of the 5 ladies for Vagina Monologues. It was a tremendous experience that had us performing 11 sold out shows. We were also hired at another community theater one hour from here, another 2 performances.  A total of 13 shows! I had a bit of the bug, so I went on to do another audition, this time through the community college. Prior to being cast with three small parts in Nickel and Dimed, the director sent me an email. He thought I had a strong read and considered me for the lead role. Since it was a college production, the part needed to go to an able student first.  I totally understood, and he could have been trying to make me feel better about the three parts, he succeeded. I was on cloud nine.

I still don’t have a dream, but I am beginning to define it. I know it is within the arena of performing, whether it is a speaker, an actress on the side or something more. It feels great.

I don’t know if my parents had the tools to be encouraging in my dreams. Perhaps being raised in the 1960’s, they were not encouraged to envision dreams. To see BIG dreams and go for it. They certainly understood goals. They understood the nature of being hard working. They understood what others explained a good life looks like. Go to school, get a job, have a family. I certainly can’t blame anyone.  I can only learn. I’ve learned if I see a speck of interest in anything from my children, I’m going to let them explore that passion. It may result in their wildest dreams.

As a side note, I googled that female performer. She is doing theater in California.

What’s your dream?

Stomp…stomp.

This morning, I was rushing around trying to get out the door. I called out from the kitchen to my oldest daughter, Mackenzie, “Do you have your crocs on?” She said no. All of a sudden I hear, stomp…stomp. My youngest daughter Delanie had come into the kitchen, with a bagel shoved in her mouth. I turn to look at her, and she is holding Mackenzie’s crocs (shoes) in her hands.  She lifts them up to gesture “here they are”.

These are the moments that melt my heart. She knew to stomp her foot on the floor to get my attention. It’s so obvious to me that being a hearing child in a Deaf household is an entirely different culture.  But in our house, there is a flip side.

My husband, whom is Deaf, was raised in a hearing household. He doesn’t tune into stomping feet. He is not ultra sensitive to vibrations. So my children have to work a bit harder to get daddy’s attention. While dad is taking a nap on the couch in the family room, the kids play and run around the couch without waking him. It’s quite amazing in contrast to my childhood.

My Dad’s sensitivity to vibration is a mystery. In our 3 bedroom ranch home, we had an addition built, the family room.  The family room was one step lower than the remainder of the house. Dad would be sleeping in the back bedroom. All of a sudden he is in the family room telling us to stop jumping around.  It was a calm instruction. However, get us jumping in the living room on the same level of the bedroom and he would come out yelling at us to stop.

Now reflecting, Delanie must have learned to stomp her feet from me. Daddy doesn’t stomp his feet. A Deaf tradition carried on by a Coda.