December third was the date of a Deafblind "ugly sweater" holiday
party. I couldn't go because my holiday sweater, complete with a
black ct wearing a Santa hat and tactile scarf, is too beautiful.
Actually, I had other plans with some of my best girls.
Adventure time! Meg and I hit the road at 11:00 AM. After a quick
stop at McDonalds for caffeine, we started the journey to
Columbus, Ohio. At 1:30, we reached our destination: The House of
Japan. There I found my Makenzie, her boyfriend and his two kids.
Yeah, we had boys at lunch. This story focuses on the girls,
including eight year old "Emily."
The restaurant is one of those Japanese steakhouses where they
cook at your table. I could feel, and always flinched at, the
extreme heat from grills at other tables. One flare-up was so
close, I thought Makenzie had burst into flames. Nah, it'll take
a lot more than that to stop this girl.
Emily got me a tiny teal umbrella for my Dr. Pepper. When it
somehow fell out and flew away, she chased it down so I could
keep it forever.
The children were in awe of the chef and the show he put on while
cooking our meal. The server heaped piles of rice on our plates.
I tried to wait for my steak, but the rice was so good, I
couldn't stop eating and knew I'd be full before the meat
arrived. Emily and Meg were also losing the battle.
We heard drums several times when the staff sang "Happy Birthday"
at other tables. It was five days too early for me. Would they do
it? I turned to Makenzie and said, "Don't you dare!" Then I
pointed my finger at Meg and said, "Not you, either." I wasn't a
bit surprised when the drums beat loudly and people were singing
to me. Makenzie interpreted the song. I was given a fresh strip
of pineapple with sparklers and another little umbrella to keep
Who snitched? It was Emily! That girl is something else. She
proudly told me, signing by herself, that she ate all her food,
even the pineapple, with chop sticks. I love how she held up both
hands when signing to me, exactly the way Makenzie does.
After lunch, we ditched the boys and went across the street to
the mall to do some serious damage to my credit card. I wanted a
Pandora charm bracelet and tried to convince myself that I
deserved a special gift for my 43rd birthday. No one else would
be insane enough to drop that much money to buy me one. Makenzie,
who has hr own bracelet, was great encouragement. The part of me
that believes I spent too much money says she's an evil
Meg and I had ben looking at a similar type of bracelet a few
weeks earlier. I liked the idea of beads as charms but didn't
feel inspired by what Kay's offered. Most of the Pandora beads we
looked at were tactile. That's all it took, hook, line and sinker
and I was caught.
The hard part was deciding on what beads to buy to get my
bracelet started. I ended up with six: heart with my birthstone,
cat face, treble clef, house that says "Home, sweet, home," heart
that says "Mom" and a graduation cap. Most are silver. All are
tactile. I still feel guilty, but I love, love, love my bracelet.
When Makenzie signed "Starbucks," I thought she was joking. Silly
me. She never jokes about coffee and neither does Meg. I do like
their caramel apple cider but got water instead. (Yes, folks, I
do drink water.) We sat around talking, joking, hanging out. It
doesn't matter that I'm sitting in a blue, plaid mobility chair
or that I use tactile sign language. When I'm with my friends I
forget I'm not normal. That's a lovely feeling for someone like
Makenzie gave Emily $7. How would she spend it? I was the one to
suggest the candy store, one of my favorites. Emily looked but
didn't buy. It was the old lady in the group that took so long to
decide. Cherry gummies, jelly fruit slices or jelly berries? I
bought the berries and a bag of chocolate coal for Joseph.
We stopped at Claire's Boutique, where Emily was in heaven. She
ran around exclaiming "Look at this! Makenzie... look!" Makenzie
helped me find a new pair of fake diamond studs, while Emily
searched for a "best friends" necklace. All three goofballs
enjoyed showing me big, ugly things that I wouldn't be caught
dead in. I was so distracted that I forgot about the studs and
left empty handed.
Girls always go to the potty before a long trip home. Near the
mall exit, we stopped and Makenzie gave me a birthday present -
the earrings I forgot to buy. Underneath was a gift from Emily
that warmed my heart close to boiling. It was half of a "best
friends" necklace. She had been looking for one so the two of us
could always be joined. My mother summed up the situation and
Emily perfectly when she said, "Bless her heart."
It was col outside, but we took forever to say goodbye. Emily was
all buckled in, ready to leave... and then she was out taking
pictures. I would have had a good time at the Deafblind party,
but nothing can beat a day out with my best girls.
contact me at Angie.C.Orlando@gmail.com