These pictures were taken at a friend’s Bat Mitzvah. I posted the black and white one on the personal blog I keep about my kids. When I first saw these photos, I considered them to be decent ones of me (for once) and liked that they were candids. I didn’t give them much thought beyond that.
That is, until a speaking deaf friend of mine was catching up on the kids’ blog and texted me, “LOVED, LOVED that pic of you reading Doran’s lips. I hope someone captures a similar pic of me doing the same with one of my kids. It’s so poignant.”
I went back and looked at the photos and realized she was right. In the color photo, I was standing up (in wedge heels, no less), so I had to bend down to lipread/understand Doran better. In the other photo, we were at the bar getting Doran a drink, and I had to angle myself for optimal lipreading. These are things I do every day, actions I’ve undertaken my whole life, so much so that they’re natural. Now these photos take on so much more meaning!
When I told my friend that I hadn’t thought about the photos this way, and that it may have registered but subconsciously, her response was incredulous. “What??? How could you not think of it that way??? It was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw it. Wow, I think you may have forgotten that you read lips! (I know, it’s become so innate to us that we don’t think about it anymore. But it’s so empowering and poignant to see it in a picture – especially between mom and child.)”
I thank her for reminding me that sometimes it’s important to take a look outside myself to remember the little (and not so little) things I have to do daily to compensate for my disability. It’s not always easy, and should be recognized. What better way to do so than in this perfect representation of my life, captured so beautifully?