It was a special movie night for me and JD. We had this
planned all day. JD took a shower before getting dressed
this morning. He did his daily reading after lunch. In
exchange, I agreed to let him stay up an extra thirty
minutes so he could watch Jurassic Park iii on TV.
I think JD was shocked that I agreed to let him see this
movie. He's only seven but very mature. I thought he'd be
fine with it. And I knew he would really enjoy the movie.
He was thrilled to have something special and unusual to
look forward to.
Part of the deal is that I watch the movie with him. Isn't
that what parents are supposed to do? Being deaf-blind
doesn't change that. A special movie night means the family
together. And that means me and JD.
We sat on the couch together. JD rested against me and I
put my arm around him. His beloved hippo stuffed animal
watched with us, too. Being close together is part of the
fun. It's also a way for me to "see" what JD is doing and
how he reacts. I can feel his jump of surprising, his
tension at the scary parts, and his laughter when something
funny happens. I would miss all of that if we sat in
JD uses the sign language alphabet to talk to me. This is
called fingerspelling. He fingerspells directly into my
hand so I can feel the letters. He is an extremely fast
fingerspeller. His hands are like lightening as he tells me
his boy stories and what is happening in the movie. He
also happens to be a gifted speller. I don't know if it's
because of our way of communicating or just because he's
smart. He's one of the top spellers in his grade.
As we watch the movie, he chatters constantly with his
fingers He tells me the types of dinosaurs in the movies.
I'd tell you what they were but I can't spell them. Only a
young boy knows how to spell those kinds of words. And he
tells me all the gory details, "Oh cool! The Raptor just
killed someone with its claws!"
Of course, he also watches the commercials with excitement
and tells me about all the new toys he wants. He has a
birthday coming up so this is very important. If it's
boyish and expensive, JD MUST have it.
During one commercial break, JD ran upstairs to put on his
pajamas while I made popcorn. We put braille labels on our
microwave. The "bump" near the top of the key pad is for
popcorn. It's the only special button I felt the need to
mark. Even for people who are deaf-blind, popcorn is one of
life's necessities. JD thinks I make great popcorn because
I usually accidently add too much salt.
You might be wondering... How does someone who is totally
deaf-blind watch a movie? That's tricky. In reality, I
don't. I'm sitting there. I'm looking at the television
screen. But I am missing it all.
So why do it? It's for JD. It's for my son. He wants to
watch a movie with his mom. It doesn't matter that I can't
actually SEE and HEAR the movie. It's about me being there
with him. It's my presence and my undivided attention that
is so special to JD.
While we watch TV together, I usually day dream. Tonight I
thought about an email I had just written and another email
that I plan to write. I thought about my ASL class and the
new signs I just learned. I tried to remember the details
of the original Jurassic Park, a movie I had seen a long
time ago. I also passed the time by thinking about Harry
Potter. I am so pleased that JD is now reading the first
Harry Potter book. It's so fun to share the series with
him. It's like experiencing the magic for the first time
all over again.
I have learned how to entertain myself with only my mind
and memory. It comes in handy when I'm out some place
where I can't read a braille book, I don't have an
interpreter and no one is talking to me. I'm not just
sitting there like a bump on a log. I'm actually very
busy... My mind never stops.
So I sit there with JD while he watches his movie. At
times, we are talking to each other and he's telling me what
is going on. Other times, I'm just holding him while I day
dream about anything and everything. It's all so precious
When I'm close to JD, I feel like I'm being recharged. It's
like a machine that's plugged into a charger to power up
the battery. Of course, it's not a battery that is being
recharged. It's my spirit. JD has the power to life my
spirit no matter what is happening in my life. He is the
source of my strength. He's the reason I get out of bed
each day. He's the reason I'm out in the world trying to
make a life for myself despite tremendous challenges.
It's just a movie. Two hours sitting together while
dinosaurs attack and eat people. And, yet, it's so much
more than that. It's a reminder of what really matters in
life. It's taking the time to be with the person I love
most. It's being the mom and being their for my son.
After the movie, I made JD brush his teeth despite his usual
protests. He climbed into his loft bed. I kissed him and
his hippo good night and turned off the light. Another
wonderful day has come and gone. It's so good to be alive.
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.