Okay, Here's What May Happen This Weekend
Okay, wait, before I tell you that, let me give you a little background:
I was born a middle-child. I have an older sister who is four years older than me, and two twin sisters, who are four years younger than me. I'm the only boy, and my Dad was a pilot in the Air Force and was gone all time time. Yes, I grew up surrounded by a mother who was trying to raise four kids (practically) by herself, and three strong-willed sisters. I turned out gay. Go figure.
Anyway- my "little" sisters, the twins, always fascinated me. In one family photo after another, you can see me focusing on The Twins and laughing my ass off. They were a hoot to watch grow up. My older sister was always a kind of surrogate parent to me. I loved her, but she was always telling me what to do - but my younger sisters were just a party. It didn't hurt that I was their "big brother", either.
The extra wrinkle to this is that one of the twins became deaf at about the age of two. The doctors were never really certain why, but it was nerve deafness and that was that.
This sister continues to just blow the doors off of me on a regular basis. When she was FOUR YEARS OLD she knew that she wanted to learn how to read lips and speak, not use sign language, to communicate. This is a big decision for the parents of a deaf child. Speech therapy is long and drawn out and frustrating. I remember quite clearly when she told my parents she wanted to lip read because she wanted to "talk to EVERYbody!"
My Dad was transferred to Lockbourne Air Force Base in Columbus, Ohio, because at the time it had the best school for the deaf in the country: The Alexander Graham Bell School for the Deaf. My sister enrolled in that school at the age of four.
After several years at this special schoool, she let it be known that she wanted to attend public school, with her sister, her twin. So, she started her school career over, starting in the first grade, and took accelerated classes to catch up with her sister. Somewhere around 6th grade she caught up, and began attending class with her twin.
Am I doing her justice here? Can you understand what a strong spirit this person has?
My family attended church every Sunday. The deaf twin was furious that her sister and I sang in the children's church choir. She wanted to sing, too! My mother tried to explain that in order to sing with the group, you had to make some very precisely pitched sounds together. Pffft! she countered, God would LOVE the way she sang!
And sing, she would. Not in the choir in church, but after church, when we were home. You could find her tucked away somewhere, softly singing a song of her own. I found her many a time like that. She would be staring up at the sky, singing in a monotone that probably made dogs in the neighborhood cock their heads.
She went on to graduate from high school, get a job in a beauty shop, and married a young man in her early 20's. She is still married to that man to this day, and has raised two wonderful girls, my nieces, who are not deaf.
So, that's the background. Now, to explain my upcoming weekend...
My deaf sister is getting a cochlear implant on Monday. The thing Rush Limbaugh has, I think. My mother was going to fly to Missouri to be with her, but has determined that she can't swing the finances. When I heard that news over the last weekend, I have been wrestling with the thought of going there to be with her myself. I think she'd like her "big brother" to be close.
[pause here as I get a lump in my throat]
See, the thing is, the chances of this procedure working for her aren't all that good. But that's not important. What is important is that I want to honor the spirit of that little girl who wants to know why SHE can't sing in the choir, why SHE shouldn't be able to talk to EVERYbody.
She is so amazing, she just might pull this off! She's cool like that. Seriously.
I'm struggling like hell to get two weeks worth of work done at my job by the day after tomorrow, so I can take a week and not be missed. I'm looking at my bank account daily and doing the math. I hate math. I hate sweating over money. I hate not being wealthy enough that this kind of thing is easy to accomplish. But, fuck it. Something tells me that I need to be there.
So, I'm going. I'm gonna jump in my truck after work on Friday and drive to Middle-of-Friggin'-NoWhere, Missouri over the weekend to be with my fucking fantastic little sister (and her fucking fantastic family) on Monday for the operation. No one knows I'm doing this. I'm just gonna show up... and tell her that I love her.
Wish her Luck, okay? Thanks.