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Saturday, December 17, 2011

An almost normal holiday

For many people who are deaf-blind, the holidays can be quite
sad and lonely. There's just so much going on and so much we
can't do. We feel totally left out.

Try to imagine what it would be like. You can't see Christmas
trees, ornaments and decorations. You can't see twinkling
Christmas lights on houses and flickering candles in each
window. You can't watch Christmas movies and specials on TV.
You can't hear Christmas music. You can't drive to the mall to
do your Christmas shopping. How would you feel about all that?

Even with the love and support of my family, I still feel like
I'm missing out on so much. I want to be a part of it all --
the movies, the music the madness of the mall... My parents
and Joseph decorate the house. My mother does the baking. She
goes out shopping for me, or my dad orders things online. I'm
there, but I'm not really part of it.

This year has been different. All it takes is some opportunities
and help from good friends. Now I'm actually having an almost
normal holiday. Read on for more details.

On December 11th, Andrea took me out shopping. I had a detailed
list, which she printed and brought with her. That made it so
much easier.

We hit the first store and got my dad's gift I bought my mom
four small things at Kohls that mostly go together. We bought
two Wii games at Toys R Us. I signed up for their rewards
program, so they gave me a $25 gift certificate that would
become valid in six hours. We decided to come back out
another day for the rest of the stuff.

Then Andrea dragged me to and all around the mall. She's my
physical therapist so I have to walk with her. In the end, all
we bought there was a calender for Joseph. I can't believe we
braved that zoo for only a calendar. At least I lived to tell
about it.

All the handicapped parking spots were full, so we had to park
near a steak restaurant. We were both hungry, and the scent
from the steak house smelled wonderful. So we went in for
some dinner. I'm not usually a steak eater, but this food was
incredibly good.

On December 13th, Abby took me to her friend's house to bake
cookies. It was a bunch of women hanging out and doing some
Christmas baking. Even though I couldn't communicate with the
others, I still felt like I was part of the group. As much as I
don't like cookie, I actually had fun.

My job was to work on the messy stuff. Hands-on-cooking...
That's my kind of thing. I mixed dough by hand and rolled it
into balls to put on the cookie sheets. I stuck Hershey Kisses
onto each sugar cookie. I rolled the chilled oreo cookies
around in melted white and milk chocolate. I also pressed dough
into a special pan with indentions of Christmas shapes. Plus, I
washed my hands about 20 times.

Funny story -- one woman was making dough for peanut butter
cookies. She accidently tripled the baking power instead of
doubling it. That didn't seem like a major issue. But when the
cookies were baking, we could all small peppermint. It turns out
she used peppermint oil instead of vanilla. I wasn't too fond
of those cookies.

I brought home a plate of everything except the peanut butter
cookies. My family must have approved, because the cookies were
all gone in two days.

Andrea came again on December 15th so I could finish my
shopping. Toys R Us didn't have the Lego sets Joseph wanted. I
did get him one thing and a rattle to use during my volunteer
work. I gave them my $25 gift card. They gave me back 53 cents.
I love that kind of shopping.

I had another gift card for a different store. So, knowing
this was a horrible idea, we went to Wal-Mart. Gasp! It was a
total madhouse, but we did well. I got More presents for
Joseph, something for a friend and a few decorations. My part of
shopping is complete.

On December 16th, a friend from Maryland Deaf-Blind camp came to
visit. Her husband's family lives in Canton, so they deiced to
stop over for a short time. It was so Wonderful to see her
again. She's always been one of my favorite SSP's at camp. I
enjoyed the chance to just sit and chat. We exchanged Christmas
presents. It was a sweet and happy visit.

A friend online helped me find and order a Nutcracker for
Joseph. He loves nutcrackers, so we buy him a special one each
year. His new nutcracker is a Boy Scout, complete with an
American flag in his hand.

This friend is a little nutty. He added a gift for me in the
package. This was a reference to the day my dentist told me to
cut back on the Starbursts. I pulled out a bunch of empty
wrappers and said, "What Starbursts?"

So what did he send me? A case with 15 packs of Starburst and
15 packs of skittles. He added a tube of toothpaste to go with
it. Ha! I love it!

Today it is snowing. My mother is baking cookies. They smell so
yummy. We have a fire going in the fireplace. Joseph and my
father are working on the Christmas tree. I got to hang the
first ornament -- my Christmas Donut that I bought from Dunkin
Donuts.. Everything is just perfect. Despite being deaf-blind,
I'm having a pretty good holiday.

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