Sunday, February 19, 2012


My kids like to have their friends over to hang out or play with. I like this, too. I’ve always had this picture of me as the “cool mom,” with kids flocking to our house just because they know I’ll be home to entertain them. This doesn’t usually quite work though. Actually, it never works. Instead of the “cool” mom, I’m the “deaf” mom, and that tends to scare them away.

Good or bad, I tend to judge my kids’ friends by how they interact with me. If they never give me eye contact and never reply to my greetings and such, they must not be very good children. If, on the other hand, they talk up a storm and demand that my children interpret for them, they’re the best kids in the world and I welcome them at any time. Sad, but true.

What I’ve actually come to realize though is that pretty much all kids are scared meeting me the first couple of times, simply because I’m deaf and, hey, that’s scary. Or maybe it’d be better to use the term “intimidating.” I do my best to make sure people are comfortable, but it’s like telling people not to worry. Someone comes up and says, ”I’m worried,” and you’re response is, “Don’t worry.” What do you expect to happen? “Oh, great! Thanks! I’m not worried anymore.” I don’t think so.

So, telling people that I don’t bite and I’m really easy-going with new kids doesn’t make someone all-of-a-sudden at ease around me. I like to make jokes and include the kids in my banter, but, even I can admit that it’s not easy—especially since I can’t lipread.

I wish there was a magic wand that I could wave around and make people see me as a person before they see me as a DEAF person, but I’ve come to realize that’s just not likely. I’ll always be the DEAF mom to the kids at school.

But, you know what? I am DEAF. I’m proud to be DEAF. And being the only DEAF mom at my kids’ school should be an honor. So, I’m going to stop worrying about it. With each new kid, I’ll do my best to show them I’m a pretty cool person to hang with. If they don’t see that the first time around, perhaps the second time. And if I haven’t broken them in by the fifth date, maybe I’ll don a demon costume when I open the door and then run at them, hissing and moaning. I’ll then reveal my true identity to them. If that doesn’t make them relax, I’m afraid there is simply no hope. But, man, it’ll be worth the trouble just to see the look on the terrified kid’s face.

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