Why I Still Celebrate “Mother Father Deaf Day”
You know what, there are so many unique holidays that celebrate everything from yarn to nose picking. Seriously, like what? I find them so interesting.
However, there is one holiday that makes me miss my parents. As I write this, my eyes are starting to fill up with tears.
Do You Know About “Mother Father Deaf Day”?
I do. Both my parents were deaf. They were not born deaf but lost their hearing at a very young age from illness.
“Mother Father Deaf Day” is to celebrate “deaf parents and codas (hearing children of deaf parents), observed annually on the last Sunday in April,” said Coda International.
I had older parents; my father was born in the mid-20s and my mom in the early 30s. They grew up in a time frame where those that were deaf were labeled “deaf and dumb” in a derogatory way.
Listen, folks were still using that term in the 90s. (I have a whole story about that I will save for another time. From the situation, I understand why they have police officers in the hospital. Facts.)
There is a whole history of “deaf and dumb” that dates back to the medieval era and it just might be my ministry to educate people who still use the term.
My father grew up to be prepared to function in a “hearing world.” He didn’t learn basic sign language until much later in life. My mother was the opposite she went to Texas School for the Deaf and Blind and was an all-star ASL expert.
Regardless of their upbringing, my parents faced much adversity growing up and living in a “hearing” world even as adults. I’ve lost count of the number of times my parents, deaf friends, and others with disabilities were treated differently, poorly, and disrespected.
And if I see it, I speak up, even to this day.
Quick Story: When I was middle school age, some roofers were trying to scam my Daddy and I heard the whole thing. You can pretty much guess how that went down. I! Told! Him! Everything!
Needless to say even at a young age, I was overprotective of my parents.
One thing for certain is that not only adults are mean and disrespectful to deaf people and others with disabilities but KIDS ARE THE WORST!!!!! (A story for another time)
What Being CODA Means To Me
People always ask me what it was like being a child of deaf adults; Honestly, I didn’t know the difference. I just thought that is how it was supposed to be.
I was the official “ears” of our household. I’m sure you can’t fathom the pressure that puts on a kid but it’s a lot.
Let’s see, I’ve brokered deals, cleared up billing issues, been the interpreter at the hospital, set up bank accounts, planned a funeral, demanded doctors give my parents the care they deserve, had to run across the street to use a neighbor's phone to make 911 calls, and more. I did all of that before the age of 14.
I believe my young life with deaf parents shaped my adult life 100%.
Ultimately, I feel blessed. Having deaf parents exposed me to a life of not assuming. I see things differently when dealing with people of all ages, backgrounds, races, religions, and more.
Tip: When you talk to someone in public, don’t assume they can hear you or are just rude. “Approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing,” said the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.
Why Do I Still Celebrate “Mother-Father Deaf Day”?
Honestly, to keep a piece of my parents' culture with me. My Dad passed away in 2014 and my Mother in 2016. I still celebrate the holiday because deaf culture will forever be with me and those valuable lessons.
My parents showed me to be understanding and to have patience because you never know what someone is facing in their life.
Having deaf parents has shown me the power of connection and communication that can go beyond traditional communication. Witnessing my parents share a unique bond with their own language and culture has been such an incredible experience.
If you have deaf parents, let me know I would love to connect. firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message on our free app.
(Source) Click here for information from Coda International. For more details from National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, click here.
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