Mom and I came out of the pet store with two huge dog food bags, a huge bag of litter, and three new litterboxes. It was starting to sprinkle rain, so Mom took her “ears” (her cochlear implant and hearing aid), out and carefully stored them in her purse. We made a plan: she and Chloe would make a break to the van and open it. I would push the heavy cart to the van. Sounds deceptively simple right?
Mom and Chloe ran out into the rain. I pushed the cart and ran into the parking lot… in front of a car (don’t worry, they had stopped for me). Suddenly, the three litterboxes fell from my cart, into the exact middle of the road.
“Uh oh! MOM! THEY FELL! COME BACK!!!” I yelled, momentarily forgetting Mom couldn’t hear me without her “ears”. She continued to run into the distance. A woman standing on the sidewalk stared after her.
“Yeah! YOU GO GET THE CAR, I’LL STAY HERE!!” I yelled, as if that was our plan all along… in case anyone thought my mom had abandoned me… to be hit by a car… as I dragged my litterboxes and cart to the sidewalk.
Well, technically she had! But… she didn’t mean to. I am a CODA – child of a deaf adult – and I was used to having to say, “Oh, she can’t hear me, I’m on my own for this one.”
Mom turned around when she reached the car and realized what happened. She stored Chloe in the van and raced back to help me.
I was howling with laughter at this point. I have a strange sense of humor.
Mom was laughing too. I probably looked ridiculous trying to drag everything out of the way. And so we laughed in the rain, as we smiled apologies to cars and people. We finally dragged our cartload to the van.
“What are you – deaf??” I teased when we reached the van.
Being a CODA has taught me a certain level of independence, learning to think for myself. When household accidents, parking lot accidents, losing someone in a store, etc. happen, I learned to calmly handle the situation myself or to walk to my mom. I can’t always call for my mommy…she can’t hear me. It’s something I learned and accepted.
Just like I know I can’t stand behind my mom and talk to her. Because 99% of the time, after pouring my heart out to her back, she’ll turn around and give a piercing scream, all because she didn’t know I was there!
Having a mom with a hearing loss isn’t a trial, it’s just different. My brother and I adjusted just like my mom had to adjust to her hearing loss. It affects the whole family, but it doesn’t have to be negative. We adapt and change along with her.
And it does give us extremely amusing moments…or extremely scary, because having your mom scream loudly when she turns to see you usually causes you to scream in return. Trust me. Ask Chloe.
Kyersten’s mom lost her hearing when Kyersten was only two-years-old. Kyersten has only known her “mom” as a person with hearing loss. Kyersten and her family live in Maryland with a menagerie of animals.