Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful That We Are Not Alone - Guest # 13

My guest posters were hunted down by various means. Some volunteered, some blog themselves, some I actively pursued, some I pestered, and some I came out of left field and probably freaked out... Today's guest is my husband's fraternity brother. While he is a friend of mine on Facebook, we have never been super close. So when I point blank asked him to consider doing a guest post, it probably unnerved him. But he graciously accepted my request, confessing that this is his virgin blog post.

Please welcome Rudy. This is everything I expected it would be when I asked!

"I don't know when I realized that my family situation was different than most, probably because my parents were as involved as anyone else's parents. Actually, truth be told, they were probably more involved than most of my friends' parents. My dad coached my basketball team all the way through junior high, my tee ball teams, and my flag football teams. They actually still come to my games today, and I'm the coach now. I had friends over night, had birthday parties, went on vacation, went to private school, and had everything that I could want growing up.

You're probably saying, sounds like any other family, so why is your family situation different? It wasn't any different to me, it is the way it is. You see my parents are deaf. Yes, that's right, they can't hear. My mom is great at reading lips and wears a hearing aid. My dad, can't hear a thing, but that is the only thing different about them.

I am always amazed at the questions that people ask me when they find out my parents were deaf. Wow? Really? I never would have guessed...Like my parents not being able to hear was supposed to leave a visible scar for everyone to see. Some of the most common comments include, I bet your house is really quiet (actually it was very loud, you see they didn't know when they were being loud), How did you learn to talk (umm..the same way you did from other people. I wasn't shut out from TV, radio, or other people who weren't deaf).

People always assumed that my childhood was abnormal due to the fact that my parents were deaf, but actually it was normal to me and all I had ever known. I sometimes like to compare it to a foreign speaking family that moves to the United States. Nothing really is different, there is just a communication barrier that has to be overcome. I do have to give my parents "props" for not "leaning" on me as much as other deaf parents to interpret. That was the only inconvenience to me, or so I thought. I would routinely help my parents on the phone, at the doctor's office, or just out with them daily. I would think to myself, this isn't fair. But in reality, I was developing those skills that I now realize are necessary for survival. Like if you don't know, ASK, it's okay.

I wouldn't trade these experiences for anything. Growing up in my house with that situation was a blessing and a curse, humorous and sad, independent and cooperative. It taught me to not let your situation determine who you will be. You've got to play the hand you are dealt, turn lemons into lemonade, and don't ever be afraid to be yourself!

As for being a parent, it taught me that I shouldn't make excuses to not be involved in my child's life and tolerance for persons different who are different from ourselves. We can learn many things from people who live life differently than we do. I wasn't overly concerned with possible "defects" that might occur during pregnancy/birth. I knew that you can't stop and worry about things you don't have any control over, and to handle the situations as they come along as best you can. We've got to love each other no matter what.


  1. 'Enjoyed your reflections, Rudy! Very inspiring and such encouragement for families who worry about their children's futures while learning to live with disabilities. Concentrate on the abilities! May God bless you and your family!
    Jeanette Underwood
    Matt and Ethan's Mom

  2. I have been so blessed by this series! Every guest writer has been inspiring in so many different ways. I am so looking forward to the birth of our daughter in February and our future together as a "nontypical" family.