Friday, November 07, 2008

Blue Boy

We'd just settled for a cup of tea in the mall. We had a dinner date with Manuela, the Executive Director of Vita (ie, my boss) and Amy Tabor from Alabama (the presenter we'd brought in to speak about rights) in an hour or so and were killing time. Both Joe and I love people watching and it was a fine day for doing just that. We were chatting about the day we had with self advocates, a wonderful session, and I was outlining to Joe what my upcoming blog posts were going to be. It's not uncommon for me to say to Joe, 'Today was a two blog day' ... it's a new yardstick in measuring a day.

Then we saw him. And melted. He couldn't have been more than two or three, a cute little blond boy, riding along in a stroller. His eyes were bright with the wonder of the mall, he glanced at everything ... you could almost see him learning. His mother stopped to look at something and he twisted around to catch a glimpse of her. He smiled at her with pure, unadulterated, love. I believe the love of children is the most mature form of love there is ... and it's lovely to see.

Why am I telling you about him?

He wore these amazing hearing aids. Each tucked behind an ear with the plug solidly in place. So what, big deal.

Well it was a big deal.

Because they were bright cobalt blue!

These weren't shy, flesh toned creations.

These weren't the 'please don't notice my hearing aid' devises.

Nay.

These were AREN'T MY FRIGGING HEARING AIDS COOL!!!! These were as 'in your face' as you could get. I didn't know that you could accessorize self esteem, but it seems that you can.

This is a kid being raised with difference celebrated, with disability unbowed. This is a kid being reared without shame, without pretense, without denial.

This was a beautiful boy who is going to grow into a proud man.

No wonder he loves his mother.

No wonder.

No wonder at all.

12 comments:

Dark Angel said...

Wow, good for that mother!
I also wear hearing aids. Though the electronic bit is dark grey and doesn't really show up against my black hair, the ear pieces themselves are silver ont he inside, which is quite noticable - the silver is 'cause of alergy to the plastic. Even so, I regularly wear my hair in an elastic, bugger all who sees the hearing aids.

I wish people would get over the vanity thing and get hearing aids if they need them. They certainly changed my life.

wendy said...

My partner wears hearing aids. She doesn't yet need the "over the ear" model so hers are more or less invisible. While waiting for her at the hearing aid dispensory I've seen the brightly coloured ones you describe and thought, WOW! They come in quite a range of great colours. If I needed them I'd be looking for purple! :-) Lucky little boy!

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

Personally, my hearing aid is in the usual really boring, bland color. This is partly because I have a very poor sense of color coordination. Yes, I see colors, I'm not color blind. But I just don't *see* the color clashes that other people complain about when I combine things in the wrong way. Pretty much any combination of color works as far as I can see!

So most of my clothing tends to be in boring colors like black and beige (except for the occasional more interesting colors and patterns that I combine with the boring colors) so I don't have to worry too much about accidentally wearing clashing colors and patterns without understanding what I'm wearing! LOL!

But, yeah, if I actually had a sense of color coordination, design, and fashion, I'd probably get some shade of purple too!

I've never really understood why some people feel they need to "hide" their hearing aids. I don't really get the point of those tiny hearing aids that fit inside the ear, unless there is actually better functionality with them or something.

O said...

Had to laugh at your post and smile broadly. My son had bright blue and white swirly ear molds for his hearing aids, which were boring beige, BUT, he also had cool stickers in the sides.

And that was just one set. One year, he got new molds just before July 4th, so he got red white and blue swirly molds with sparkles. The audiologist had a big ring of different colors for him to choose from. He loved getting different colors.

His implants are more boring. But he can change the color of the mic cover if he wants. Just hasn't chosen to yet. He does wear his hair short, though, and so the implants are plainly visible. And you should see how some people LOOK. One guy was looking so hard, I think his head turned 360 degrees and he almost fell over, grin.

Thanks for the smile and for digging up some sweet memories.

Orlaith

O said...

Had to laugh at your post and smile broadly. My son had bright blue and white swirly ear molds for his hearing aids, which were boring beige, BUT, he also had cool stickers in the sides.

And that was just one set. One year, he got new molds just before July 4th, so he got red white and blue swirly molds with sparkles. The audiologist had a big ring of different colors for him to choose from. He loved getting different colors.

His implants are more boring. But he can change the color of the mic cover if he wants. Just hasn't chosen to yet. He does wear his hair short, though, and so the implants are plainly visible. And you should see how some people LOOK. One guy was looking so hard, I think his head turned 360 degrees and he almost fell over, grin.

Thanks for the smile and for digging up some sweet memories.

Orlaith

O said...

Yipes, sorry for the double post, not sure how that happened.

New at posting <------

Cynthia Freeman said...

A friend took his four-year-old daughter to the mall recently to have her hearing aid repaired. They dropped the device off and were walking around waiting for the technicians to finish working on it, when my friend noticed that his daughter had her hand over her ear. "What's wrong Elena?" he asked her. "Does your ear hurt?"
"No," she answered. "I just don't want anyone to see me without my hearing aid on."

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

Off topic now, but people with disabilities and all our allies, from across the United States and around the world are being encouraged to write emails to Obama and his staff.

Please participate! Read more about it at: http://wecando.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/disabilities-email-obama/

I know there are many people with disabilities who read Dave's blog and his comments ... as well as many Moms and Dads ... and many staff people. And I know his readership comes, not only from the US, but also Canada, the UK, and elsewhere around the world. I hope you all take a few minutes to read the above appeal and write letters of your own.

Amy said...

How cool! I was given a hard time (by his teachers and even an audiologist) for letting my 3 year old pick out his bright blue aids and matching earmolds. He's got a big personality and his aids match his spunky outlook. I'd love to see more kids and adults showing the world that aids and implants can rock.

ntmjbmom said...

That is the color my son chose for his too!

His have little sticker decorations on them too!

TOO COOL!

Hugs,
Amy

little.birdy said...

I'm in school to be a speech therapist and I'm grinning really big at the idea of cute wee ones coming to me with their awesome ear accessories.

rickismom said...

Ricki's hearing aids are beige, but we spruced them up by buying a colorful ear-gear cover (and safety hold) in bright pink to match her school uniform.....