Your mama, she loved you. When she found out you were deaf, she loved you. When she consulted with doctors, specialists, speech therapists, audiologists with fear running through her veins... she loved you.
When she didn't learn sign language. She loved you. When she tried to learn some fingerspelling and signs, and you were embarrassed, she loved you.
Love was always there. And if it was layered with things like grief, regret, fear, worry, anxiety... remember, love was always there.
It didn't leave you at the dinner table when the family talked and you tried to follow in between bites of casserole and sips of milk. And when you walked away to go read a book, she saw. And she loved you.
It didn't leave you when you sat for countless hours the sound booth, taking one hearing test after another.
It never left you though you go home now, decades later, and the two of you are like strangers She loves you still.
Loving a stranger-mother who does not sign is hard. But she loves you through it. Your anger and your frustration and your sorrow at missing that deep mother-child connection stays with you. Why didn't she love you enough to give you two the gift of communication?
Her eyes fill with tears. She loved you the best she knew how. And somehow the two of you have to make that enough.
Meanwhile, the mother-love from other nurturing hands fly through air over the years, lifting you up when your house was a place of resentment. Those hands from other mothers who signed, who opened their hearts to you let you see what was possible. And the hands from children your age who loved you through those times carried you as well. They saved you.
For all the mothers who sign with their children and the children of those who don't, Happy Mother's Day and thank you. You have no idea how precious that gift is. And for those who don't: we know you love us.