Life celebrations are important. When one chapter closes and another begins in this story of life, we need to mark that point and celebrate. Our family is celebrating one such point. My younger son is getting married in a week at the time of this writing. I know he is excited. He has been preparing himself for this moment for much of his life.
Brendan started as a young teen deciding the career path that he wanted to follow which was in the technology field. With that he thought of things he needed to get there and worked for them. Even then, Brendan knew that some day he wanted a family, and he wanted to be able to care for them. He didn’t know the particulars, but he had an idea and was working towards making it a reality. I am so thankful that, along the way, Brendan has been learning how to let God guide his steps as he makes his plans. We have celebrated many of the smaller steps like making Eagle, graduating from high school and college, getting the first job, and then a promotion which led to his first apartment, and even another promotion that led to a move to another city. Now, we are about celebrate an even bigger moment in his plan, his marriage to his long-time girlfriend, Rachel. I am excited, like most mothers of the Groom, but I am afraid that I might not be able to understand enough of what is happening to enjoy it all and build firm memories. Now, it is my time to plan.
As soon as the happy couple had picked their date and place, it was my time to contact interpreters in that area about scheduling their services. This is too important of an event to wait until near the event and hope that there are enough interpreters available. I will need four to be able to keep up during the few hours on the two evenings of activities. Interpreters are very busy, and there aren’t nearly enough to go around, so I schedule my days with an interpreting agency in Atlanta, Georgia, where my son now lives and will be getting married. I am lucky to have found one of the best agencies around, The Morris Interpreting Agency and Thai Morris who I have had the pleasure of working with for business and medical events in the past. One step of preparing is complete. I should be able to understand what is happening at my son’s wedding.
I also want to mention here that there is a non-profit organization here in Georgia that provides interpreting for personal and family events at reduced costs or free depending on your situation. It is called DEAF Inc. You can find out more at http://www.deafinc.net. It is possible that many other areas have something similar. If not, I hope this spurs some people to action. Interpreting is expensive, and many Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind can’t afford to provide their own interpreters for family events, weddings, funerals, reunions, banquets, etc. Missing out should not be an option when all it takes is a hand reached outward to those who need it.
Next step for my husband and I is looking presentable. My husband, who hates suits, needed a suit. I helped him buy suits earlier in our marriage, but I needed help this time. Fortunately, my son and his fiancé took us to a men’s clothing store nearby to take care of my husband’s more formal dress for the evening in question. He will be totally handsome that night.
I, on the other hand, am not so easy. After fretting about it, worrying if I might embarrass the young couple by being such a frumpy looking woman on the special day, and ordering several dresses online only to be disappointed, a friend suggested that I set up an appointment at David’s Bridal in the city near where I live. Sounded like a scary idea, but a good one, so I did some explaining to them that I would need a person to actually help me find a dress (just as they would with a bride) because I am deaf and blind.
The day arrived and we let them know we were there for the appointment. The lady at the door led us over to the dresses and said, “You can pick something out here and the fitting rooms are over there.” She then walked back to the door to resume her duties. Scott nervously looked at dresses and then tried to fingerspell in my hand, “Where do we start?” I responded, “I haven’t a clue. I can’t see the dresses much less a color that might work. I have an idea of what I shouldn’t wear, but I don’t know how to pick something that would work and look nice on me when I can’t even see myself in the mirror.”
Well, Scott turned around and went back to the lady at the door begging for help saying, “I am fashion illiterate. I don’t know where to begin. My wife can’t see and she can’t hear, so she can look for a dress without some help.” The lady at the door said, “You can’t just hand her dresses to try on?” He responded, “No, I don’t know what is appropriate.” The lady just stared. I was trying to force back a panic attack as a crowd of people in the store stopped looking at dresses and began to look at us. I really wanted the floor to open up and just swallow me whole. Do you know that feeling?
After a few minutes, a young woman walks up trying to figure out what is going on. She is an employee who had just finished with a bride-to-be, complete with the bell sounding that she had found “her dress” and had been ushered over to alterations to see what might need to be altered. This young woman, after getting the scoop about what was happening, offered to take care of the situation and me. And take care of me, she did. Her name was Kendra. She asked questions that Scott fingerspelled to me which I answered about the wedding – getting the when, where, the setting. Kendra even looked up the registry and found the dress being worn by the bridesmaids. Then she she set about to work choosing four dresses for me to try on. She quickly discovered, as I tried on the dresses and stood before my husband and her for evaluation, that my husband would not answer the question, “How does it look?” He said, “I have been married 27 years because I know not to answer the “impossible to answer right” questions.”
A man sitting a ways over watching as his wife and daughter picked out dresses laughed out loud and began furiously nodding his head. Kendra smiled and shook her head realizing she was on her own, but she didn’t flinch. She asked me how each one felt as we walked around the little area of the store and sat in the chair near the mirrors which I couldn’t use, but Kendra did, seeing me from all angles. Kendra finally settled on the dress which she said I looked the best in and also was the dressed I felt was most comfortable. Kendra chose a neutral color, but one that also flattered my body. Kendra gathered some shoes and accessories to finish out the look. The shoes were determined to be too flat, and the store didn’t have any in my size that worked. I was then sent off to find shoes elsewhere and then to come back for my fitting appointment a week later in the alterations department.
During that interim, I was able to find the perfect white shoes to enhance the dress with a heel height that would work with the dress, but also wasn’t too high for my equilibrium problems that come with my type of hearing loss. Measurements were taken. Decisions were made. The dress remained for another week to complete the surprisingly few alterations. I then arrived for the final time a week before the wedding for the final fitting.
Through it all, Little Joe guided with his eyes and heart knowing just when to stand beside me and when to move aside a little to allow for measurements or pulls or twists to perfect the fit, or even to lay and snooze as we went about the work. The process was a success. I had my dress, and I didn’t look frumpy I was assured, and just as important, I didn’t feel frumpy. I actually felt… can I say it… I felt… pretty. The nerves died down. I can enjoy the moments now.