Tuesday, January 02, 2007

And a New Year Begins



Good gosh, today is January 2nd. Already.

This year is flying by too fast.

On Sunday night, we had a couple of friends over to ring in the new year. It was one of those last minute affairs, with an email sent out a few days before. With the lack of babysitters, the logical solution was to just get together and bring all the kids. Everyone brought something to share and there was plenty of food to go around.

Food and friends, you can't beat that combination.

As I was running around tossing buffalo wings into the oven and the other gals were filling up bowls and platters, I briefly thought back through the years to another New Year's Eve party that I attended in high school. Everyone at this 1981 party had normal hearing. Most of the people there were from my swim team, including a guy that I absolutely adored. I was relatively comfortable with them, but the noisy environment and fast-flowing conversations meant that I couldn't follow conversations. So I found myself social bluffing my way through conversations. Of course, with all the under-aged drinking going on, it was easy for everyone to simply assume that I had too much to drink and was just spacing out instead of talking. I felt like the "real" me was hidden because I wasn't able to speak my mind or contribute to the group conversations.

I left that party wishing I had normal hearing.

Fast forward to Sunday's party. Despite the shrieking of a dozen kids, the blaring of the tv and some loud voices, I'm able to have a conversation with everyone there. Everyone's deaf, hard of hearing or a child of deaf/hard of hearing adults. We're a mish-mash of communication modes, but everyone signs. There's a comfort I can't explain, but it must be the same ease that people with normal hearing have when they gather in groups as well; they're not straining to "hear" or follow conversation. They're not limiting their involvement in group conversation because of a physical inability to converse.

So on Sunday, I was able to argue the merits of investing in retail stock, discuss new recipes and debate the future without missing a word or straining to understand a conversation. Quite a long way from the high school party where I left feeling like a large chunk of my life was missing.

So here's to 2007. If anyone reading this is feeling the same way that I did back in 1981-- here's to some new friendships and hoping that you will find a group of friends to connect with that will have you saying, "Ah, life is good."

5 comments:

groovyoldlady said...

I can't sign, but I can type...

Happy New Year, Karen!

Karen said...

Happy New Year to you too!

Sarah said...

That's wonderful! I hope to have that experience someday soon. I'm in the midst of many new revelations about my own hearing loss thanks to the book "Alone in the Mainstream"! (I was googling that book title which is how I came across your blog). I'll be visiting your blog frequently! You are linked on mine at www.the8thnerve.com.

Jacq said...

I am a hearing person but I do not like noise. It puts me on edge, makes me cranky, I can't hear conversations, etc. I have tinnitus but I've been told my hearing is normal. Can't figure out why I can't hear people when they talk to me though. I'm constantly getting them to repeat themselves and sometimes just nod my head even though I don't know what I'm agreeing to. Not really a great idea I might add. LOL

Karen said...

Jacq,

It could possibly be an Auditory Processing Disorder. You may want to see a specialist and check that out.