I have long since given up on holidays. It doesn't matter if it's Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day or the 4th of July. I'm an absolute Holiday Grinch.
It's not because my heart is two sizes too small. The reason I dislike holidays is that I don't fit in anywhere. My family and their friends are great people. I know they care about me. But I'm the only deaf person. No one can communicate with me. It's such a sad and isolating feeling. There's nothing worse than being alone in a crowd of people.
This Independence Day was different. For the first time in my adult life, I was actually invited to a party. It was unexpected. I really don't get opportunities like this often. I wanted to go. Since I knew it would be a kid-friendly environment, I was happy to bring Joseph with me.
The hosts were two of my old high school friends. I passed a love note to him on her behalf. They started dating... and never stopped. Now they are married with two kids and a nice house on a lake.
I was worried about communication. The hostess can fingerspell, but I knew she'd be busy with all the guests. I lucked out in finding two volunteer interpreters to come with me. Then I was hit with bad luck. One girl's car broke down. The other had to go to Columbus to help family members clean up after storm damage. What to do?
I'm stubborn and determined not to give into fears. I decided to go to the party anyway. I had my communication machine, Joseph and faith that all would work out. It did.
The hostess fingerspelled, and the host used my device. A couple of married audiologists were there. They could fingerspell, too.
There was also an awesome 12-year-old girl who taught herself to fingerspell. We spent a long time chatting. As it turned out, I had plenty of people to talk to. I was not alone.
Of course, all who spoke to me asked if they could get me anything. What a polite bunch of people! After a hot dog, chips, a cookie, a brownie, corn on the cob, fruit salad and two Dr. Peppers, I came home with a bellyache. That's another sign of a successful party.
As for Joseph... He was a prince among a crowd of princesses. The girls were his age, but the boys were younger. Luckily for me, he's not into girls yet. He had a blast Kayaking and riding down a big slide while sitting on wax paper.
Happy Birthday America! Happy 4th of July to all. It really can be a wonderful life.